We still await a new #1 contender for the IBF world heavyweight title after Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang failed to happen on May 7 in Las Vegas.
The unbeaten Croat (14-0) and the Chinese giant (23-0-1) had been set to lock horns on the Canelo vs Bivol undercard at T-Mobile Arena with that position as mandatory challenger up for grabs. Hrgovic though was forced to pull out following a family bereavement.
Hrgovic is one of the most avoided fighters in the division, and hopefully will soon get his chance to move up to that #1 position, hopefully again with Zhang in the opposite corner. The Chinese star was the only big name willing to step up to face Hrgovic.
Usyk vs Joshua 2 set for title bout on August 20
The ageing but talented Luis Ortiz remains at #2 in the latest IBF rankings while Hrgovic is #3 with former king Anthony Joshua currently sits fourth. He is next man up in the title reckoning with a rematch vs current champion Oleksandr Usyk likely to go ahead on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.
France’s Tony Yoka (who lost his unbeaten record vs Martin Bakole recently) and Britain’s Joe Joyce – who met as amateurs in the 2016 Olympic final in Rio – are fifth and sixth in the IBF rankings with Agit Kabayel 7 and former cruiserweight star Murat Gassiev 8.
After that we have Andy Ruiz Jr, Aussie Demsey McKean and the American Charles Martin. ‘Cuban Flash’ Frank Sanchez is #12 with the aforementioned Zhang at 13. Hughie Fury and Martin Bakole round out the top 15 from February 2022.
As stated, we could be set for a big shake-up in the coming months, first with Usyk vs Joshua 2 for the title and then an eliminator (at some stage) for that mandatory position as the #1 challenger.