It was reported last week that the upcoming Fury vs Usyk fight, which will allow an undisputed heavyweight champion, will include a two-way rematch clause, which all-but ensures that we see the two face off twice. Unfortunately for fans, recognition as the undisputed champion would be short lived as the IBF confirmed that they would not allow any exceptions to their order for the IBF champaign to face mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic and the champion will be stripped of their title if they do not comply.
🗣️ @EddieHearn confirms plans to make Anthony Joshua vs. Filip Hrgović if the IBF world title becomes vacant after Fury vs. Usyk!👊
— Boxing Social (@boxing_social) October 6, 2023
Eddie Hearn followed the IBF’s order by confirming that his intention would be to book Anthony Joshua as Hrgovic’s opponent in the event that the IBF title is up for grabs. This was devastating news for fans hoping to see Joshua vs Deontay Wilder. Interestingly, the IBF has now updated their heavyweight rankings, which could halt Hearn’s plan for Joshua to battle for the belt.
Otto Wallin (26 – 1, 14 KO), who went toe-to-toe with Tyson Fury in 2019, and dealt Fury one of his toughest fights to date, has been elevated to #2 in the IBF rankings, which immediately follows #1 Filip Hrgovic (16 – 0, 13 KO), and is directly ahead of Anthony Joshua (26 – 3, 23 KO) and Deontay Wilder (43 – 2 – 1, 42 KO), who are number #3 and #4 respectively.
IBF SET TO ORDER HRGOVIC VS WALLIN FOR VACANT TITLE NEXT YEAR ‼️
Otto Wallin has moved up to #2 in the latest IBF rankings meaning he will be ordered to fight Filip Hrgovic for the world title when it becomes vacant after Fury vs Usyk 🥊
— IFL TV (@IFLTV) October 11, 2023
With Wallin now sitting in the #2 spot, the IBF will issue Hrgovic vs Wallin for the IBF championship if the loser from Fury vs Usyk is interested in trigging their rematch clause. Hearn’s plan for Joshua to fight for the IBF belt is tabled for now, and one would surmise that talks for Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder can continue, though Malik Scott thinks otherwise.
The heavyweight division is finally close to sorting itself out with the potential for an undisputed champion within grasp. The rest of the division still remains in flux, however.