Dubois-Hrgovic 'tentatively sanctioned' for 'interim' IBF title bout

Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic face off
Londoner Daniel Dubois (left) boasts 19 stoppages in 20 wins, with two defeats [Mark Robinson - Matchroom Boxing]

Daniel Dubois' contest against Filip Hrgovic on Saturday has been "tentatively sanctioned" for the IBF 'interim' heavyweight title, the sanctioning body has told BBC Sport.

Should it become fully sanctioned as an interim bout, the winner will be upgraded to world champion if Oleksandr Usyk is stripped of his IBF belt before a scheduled rematch with Tyson Fury in December.

Dubois, 26, will take on Croatia's Hrgovic – the number one ranked IBF fighter – as part of the Queensberry v Matchroom five versus five card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk, who holds all four world titles, has requested an exemption from the IBF to defend his belt against Briton Fury rather than face his mandatory challenger next.

The IBF said that it "does not have a timeline as to when the decision will be made on Usyk’s exception request" and despite reports stating Dubois and Hrgovic will fight for the interim title, it is "not yet 100%" confirmed.

The body added if and when it has been sanctioned, the winner of Dubois-Hrgovic would be elevated to champion should Ukrainian Usyk vacate the belt.

There were suggestions Usyk could be forced to vacate before Saturday's event but it appears he will hold on to his undisputed title for the time being.

Promoters Eddie Hearn has also previously said the winner of Hrgovic-Dubois could face Briton Anthony Joshua for a vacant IBF world title at Wembley Stadium in September.

Dubois has won 20 pro fights with two defeats, including a points loss in a world-title challenge against Usyk in October.

Hrgovic, 31, has won all 17 fights, with 14 inside the distance.

More boxing from the BBC