The situation regarding the IBF installing a mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk has taken another twist. Filip Hrgovic, the number one ranked fighter with the governing body, had been set to enter negotiations with former amateur rival, Tony Yoka, but that showdown has now been thwarted as Martin Bakole claims he has an arrangement to face the Frenchman in March and the IBF have supported his claim according to Dan Rafael.
Per source, IBF issued letter to both camps determining @TonyYoka is unavailable for eliminator vs. @Filip_Hrgovic for mandatory position because of dispute between Yoka camp and Martin Bakole on if he owes him a rescheduled date. IBF will go down ratings yet again. #boxing— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) January 21, 2022
Hrgovic and Yoka met in the semi-finals of the 2016 Olympics, and it was the latter who emerged victorious as he went on to claim the gold medal thanks to victory over Britain’s Joe Joyce in the final. A professional meeting between the pair was deemed an excellent match and a worthy eliminator for the IBF crown, which is currently held by Usyk.
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After failing to arrange contests with other rated fighters such as Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker, Hrgovic was greeted with approvement from Yoka but it appears that fight must wait. Yoka is likely to face Bakole and it looks like Hrgovic will continue to go down the current rankings with Joyce next in line.