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Filip Hrgovic talks up potential clash with Joseph Parker on Joshua vs Ngannou undercard

Filip Hrgovic and Joseph Parker have talked up the prospect of a clash on the Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou undercard, on what could be another night of significant heavyweight action.

On 23 December in Saudi Arabia, Joshua beat Otto Wallin after Parker upset Deontay Wilder, with Hrgovic defeating Mark De Mori earlier in the evening. They were just three of the numerous heavyweight bouts in Riyadh that night, and “AJ” will return to the city on 8 March to box Ngannou.

Ngannou, a former UFC heavyweight champion, also fought in Riyadh recently, making his professional boxing debut against Tyson Fury in October and losing a controversial decision. The Cameroonian now prepares to face Joshua, and the undercard could feature a title eliminator between Parker and Hrgovic.

Hrgovic is the IBF’s No 1-ranked heavyweight, and Joshua has discussed the possibility of challenging the Croatian, 31, for that status this year. Such a bout would have to take place after the Briton’s fight with Ngannou, and Hrgovic seems content to stay busy against Parker, 32, in the meantime.

After Parker named Hrgovic, Zhilei Zhang and old foe Joe Joyce as potential opponents for his next fight, Hrgovic replied in a social-media video on Tuesday (9 January): “Hey, what’s up? ‘El Animal’ in the house. I heard that Joseph Parker wants to fight me in March on the Joshua-Ngannou undercard.

“I’m very happy to hear that. I’m ready. I accept your offer, Joe. Let’s do it, let’s go, baby. Let’s get down, let’s get down to business. See you soon.”

As the IBF’s No-1 ranked heavyweight, Hrgovic is next in line to challenge for the organisation’s title. Oleksandr Usyk is the reigning champion, but he will put the title – and his WBA, WBO and IBO belts – on the line against WBC champion Fury on 17 February.

The winner of that fight in Riyadh will be crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000. And while Fury and Usyk have reportedly signed a two-fight deal, the winner of their first fight will have to defend the IBF title before any rematch. Alternatively, the winner could vacate the IBF title.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has claimed that AJ could box Hrgovic for the vacant title in such a situation, but that plan could be affected by a potential bout between Hrgovic and Parker.

Joshua previously boxed Parker in 2018, beating the New Zealander on points.

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