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Tyson Fury's plan to fight Oleksandr Usyk derailed after IBF orders Ukrainian to face Filip Hrgovic

Oleksandr Usyk, the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, has been ordered to make a mandatory IBF title defence against Filip Hrgovic, according to the Croatian's promoter Kalle Sauerland. Tyson Fury had hoped to fight Usyk in early 2023

Tyson Fury
Image: Tyson Fury had been targeting an undisputed world title fight against Usyk

Tyson Fury's plans to fight Oleksandr Usyk have been thrown into disarray after Filip Hrgovic's team announced that he will challenge the Ukrainian next.

Fury had hoped to finalise an undisputed world heavyweight title fight early in 2023, but the IBF have ordered Usyk to make a mandatory title defence against Hrgovic, according to the Croatian's promoter Kalle Sauerland.

Hrgovic climbed off the canvas to defeat Zhilei Zhang on points in a final IBF title eliminator on the undercard of Usyk's rematch win over Anthony Joshua in August.

Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after winning the World Heavyweight Championship WBA Super IBF, IBO and WBO fight against Anthony Joshua at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Picture date: Saturday August 20, 2022.
Image: Unified champion Oleksandr Usyk holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts

Sauerland tweeted: "CONFIRMED: El Animal @Filip_Hrgovic is next for @usykaa for the Heavyweight Championship - by official order of the @IBFUSBAboxing. Let's get the show on the road."

Usyk confirmed this month that he was holding talks about defending his WBA, IBF and WBO titles against WBC champion Fury.

The British star is currently preparing for a WBC title defence against Derek Chisora on December 3.

Image: Usyk has expressed his desire to face Fury

"Right now my team is seeking conversations with Tyson Fury, and he is really an unpredictable person, so we can't guarantee when," Usyk had said.

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"For me, the idea would be to fight maybe early February or the beginning of March, like March 4, because I am an orthodox Christian.

"During the great fasting before Easter I do not fight, so it should be all before or then after orthodox Easter (April 16).

"I want to fight with Fury because I need the fourth belt, and I don't want to fight with anyone else until I have the fourth belt."

Fury's US promoter, Bob Arum, had also told Sky Sports that he intended to reach an agreement for an Usyk fight.

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