Promoter Eddie Hearn says he expects undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will no longer own his IBF title when he faces Tyson Fury in the rematch on December 21st, which allows Anthony Joshua to face the winner of this Saturday’s clash between Matchroom fighter Filip Hrgovic and Daniel Dubois for the vacant belt in September.

Eddie Hearn Predicts Title Vacancy for Fury-Usyk II

Hearn wants the IBF title to be at stake when Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) fights the Hrgovic-Dubois winner in September.

“It is likely that the winner of that fight [Filip Hrgovic vs. Daniel Dubois] fights Anthony Joshua for the world [IBF] heavyweight title in September,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social.

It’s believed that Hearn feels that Joshua capturing the IBF title will make a fight between him and potentially Fury a much bigger clash if both fighters come into that contest as world champions. There’s a little more interest if it’s two champions meeting for the undisputed rather than Joshua coming in as the challenger.

Hearn hopes Fury defeats Usyk on December 21st, as that’s the big one for AJ. However, Joshua’s victory in September’s Hrgovic vs. Dubois fight is not guaranteed.

We’ve seen repeatedly that Joshua’s punch resistance is weak when facing punchers, and he could crumble against the hard-hitting Dubois or Hrgovic. Those guys are on a different level talent-wise than the last four opponents that Joshua has faced since 2023.

Hearn’s Difficult Decision if Joshua Loses

Hearn has done an admirable job of steering Joshua’s ship around the rough waters, bringing him back against soft opposition in his last four fights after his back-to-back defeats against Usyk. Joshua could sink immediately when put in against Dubois or Hrgovic.

If that happens, Hearn will have to decide whether he wants to set Joshua up for an immediate title shot against the Fury-Usyk II winner or try his luck to put AJ back in with Dubois or Hrgovic. A second defeat for Joshua against one of those two punchers would be disastrous for him and Eddie Hearn.

It could end badly for the soon-to-be 35-year-old Joshua, and it would be useless to match him against Fury, who is facing problems of his own against Usyk.

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