June 23, 2024

Hrgovic Vs. Dubois: Interim IBF Heavyweight Title On The Line On Saturday

Saturday night’s fight between Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) and Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs) will have the IBF interim heavyweight title at stake in their contest on the ‘5 vs. 5’ event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The winner of the Hrgovic-Dubois fight could be elevated to full IBF champion if the International Boxing Federation strips undisputed champ Oleksandr Usyk because he faces Tyson Fury in a rematch on December 21st.

Hearn’s Push for Usyk’s Stripping

Despite Hrgovic’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, being vocal about wanting the IBF belt to be stripped from Usyk and made available for the Hrgovic-Dubois fight, it’s not happening.

Hearn wants the IBF to strip Usyk before his rematch with Fury and pit it up for grabs so that Anthony Joshua can fight the Hrgovic vs. Dubois winner for the belt in September.

Interim Title: Empty Gesture?

This could be an empty gesture by the IBF, making their interim belt available for Saturday’s Hrgovic vs. Dubois winner, but without ever stripping Usyk for the title before his rematch.

Hrgovic is already the IBF mandatory, so it’s pointless for the interim title to be at stake unless the sanctioning body intends to strip Usyk before his December rematch with Fury.

Hearn needs the IBF belt to be stripped from Usyk so that Joshua can have a chance to fight for the belt. He feels that the IBF title is important for Joshua to have in his possession when he fights the winner or the loser of the rematch between Usyk and Fury.

Joshua’s Title Not Essential for Future Fights

It’s not important that Joshua have the IBF title because a fight between him and the Fury-Usyk II winner will be as big as it would if he were beltless. Joshua has already been beaten twice by Usyk, so it won’t change the public’s interest in a trilogy if AJ matches it in holding the IBF title.

It might help Joshua in a fight against Fury if he emerges with the three belts from his rematch with Usyk, but he’s expected to lose that fight. The chances of Fury beating Usyk in the rematch are slim, unless, of course, we see a controversial outcome like we witnessed with Tyson’s win against Francis Ngannou last October in Riyadh.