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Usyk Shouldn’t Be Stripped Of IBF Title, Warren Argues

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Promoter Frank Warren maintains that undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk shouldn’t be stripped of his IBF title because he’s currently suspended due to the tough fight he just endured against WBC champ Tyson Fury last Saturday night in Riyadh.

Rematch for Undisputed Championship

Warren says Usyk (22-0, 14 KOs) isn’t able to defend his IBF title against his mandatory. So he feels the June 1st fight between the IBF mandatory Filp Hrgovic and Daniel Dubois in Riyadh should be for the interim title.

This move would allow Usyk and Fury (34-1-1, 24 KOs) to battle for the undisputed championship in their rematch this year or early 2025.

Warren notes that Hrgovic’s camp won’t be happy about the IBF title not being at stake in the fight with Dubois.

Usyk’s Request for Exception

Usyk has already asked the IBF for an exception to allow him to keep his belt for his next fight against Fury. It’ll be up to the IBF to decide if they’ll grant Usyk his request. If they do, Hrgovic and Dubois will meet without a title on the line next Saturday night in their 12-round contest on the 5V5 event at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.

It’s unclear whether promoter Eddie Hearn will want Anthony Joshua to fight Hrgovic if he’s not in possession of the IBF title. Without the IBF strap, Hrgovic brings only risk and zero value to Joshua. Why else would Joshua fight Hrgovic other than if the IBF belt were involved?

Otherwise, Joshua would just be doing Hearn a solid by fighting one of his Matchroom Boxing stable fighters. I wouldn’t do it if I were Joshua if the IBF belt weren’t available.

Risks and Considerations for Joshua

All things equal, Joshua would destroy Hrgovic, but who knows what could happen if he gets nailed by one of his rabbit shots? It doesn’t matter how much better Joshua is than Hrgovic.

If he gets hit with a rabbit punch, he could be in the same condition he was when he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr. That’s why it’s not worth the risk for Joshua unless the IBF title is available. Usyk would better handle Hrgovic’s fighting style than Joshua, who has a history of getting hurt.

Warren’s Argument for Suspension

“He has been suspended, Oleksandr Usyk, because of how tough the fight was, I think, for 40 or 45 days by the commission. So, he can’t be stripped at this stage of the game because he’s not in a position to defend his title,” said promoter Frank Warren to Secondsout when asked how likely it’ll be that undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will be stripped of his IBF title.

“That fight between Daniel [Dubois] and [Filip] Hrgovic [on June 1st] is a fantastic fight. The worst-case scenario is it’ll be an interim title fight. Whatever happens, if it goes ahead as an interim title fight, I have no problem with that.

“I think with the rematch, and I think a lot of people will be pissed off with me saying this from the Hrgovic camp and maybe with Daniel I’m involved with, I feel it should be for the interim because I think the rematch [between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk] should be for the four belts,” said Warren.

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