Anthony Joshua could be forced to face Filip Hrgovic in future if Croatian continues destructive rise
"He believes he can beat Joshua - and so do we"
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 02/06/20 4:48pm
Filip Hrgovic would take a fight against Anthony Joshua "tomorrow" but must force himself into a position where "no-one can get away", says promoter Nisse Sauerland.
Britain's unified champion will make the next defence of his world heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev, the IBF's mandatory challenger, but Hrgovic has already risen to No 6 in the IBF rankings after 10 victories.
The Croatian is supremely confident that he could topple Joshua now, but his promotional team have questioned whether the WBA, IBF and WBO title holder would welcome a fight against Hrgovic, who has earned a reputation as a ruthless puncher.
"He was sparring the likes of David Haye at a very early age," Nisse Sauerland told Sky Sports. "He's been in the WSB (World Series of Boxing), he's been in the Olympics. As far as pedigree goes, he's got an A+.
"As far as ambitions go, it's backed up by that pedigree. He believes he can beat Joshua - and so do we. But it's just a question of getting those fights, and we will. We just have to be patient and plan our route effectively.
He needs to get into a position where no-one can get away from fighting him.
Nisse Sauerland on Filip Hrgovic
"If the Joshua fight came tomorrow, he'd take it for the right conditions, but I've said this a million times: 'why would they fight him?' He needs to get into a position where no-one can get away from fighting him.
"Filip will just come at you. Sometimes with heavyweights, maybe they don't have that malice, that naturally aggressive nature, which he does."
Hrgovic has also boosted his standing with the WBC, having made two defences of his WBC international title, and could turn his attention to the WBC belt, which is currently held by Tyson Fury.
But Dillian Whyte has earned his status as the mandatory challenger for Fury by February 2021, meaning that Hrgovic would again have to wait his turn for a world title fight.
"I would say that we're keeping our options open," said Sauerland.
"Within two to three fights, then it will become apparent which route we go.
"If it's the WBC, we have to be mindful of the fact that Dillian Whyte is the mandatory."