Manager: Due To Injury, Luis Ortiz Was Unable To Fight Hrgovic By April

As BoxingScene.com previously reported, a hand injury has prevented heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz from accepted a potential fight against Filip Hrgovic, which would have been an IBF final eliminator for a mandatory crack at Oleksandr Usyk.

Ortiz, 42-years-old, injured his left hand in last Saturday’s fight at the Seminole Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, when he overcame two knockdowns to score a knockout of former world champion Charles Martin in the sixth round.

On Monday, the IBF gave Ortiz only a three day deadline to agree to take part in a fight with Hrgovic.

According to Ortiz’s team, there simply wasn’t enough time for Ortiz to be in top form for such a contest.

Hrgovic and his team were looking for the fight to take place on a date in March or April.

“Basically, Luis had a minimal fracture that he should being able to heal without issues, but with something like that he does not want to take any risk,” said Ortiz’s manager, Jay Jiménez, to George Ebro.

“He is being evaluated, but he cannot fight as early as April, because he would not be in [the best physical condition]. We are not against fighting against Hrgovic, or against anyone, but let it happen with the best conditions for Luis.”

Ortiz would like to secure a fight with his Premier Boxing Champions stablemate, former unified champion Andy Ruiz. Ortiz called for a fight with Ruiz last year, but it never came off.

“I’m not afraid of anyone and I’m ready to fight whoever it is,” Ortiz repeated on several occasions, after his victory over Martin.

“I would like Andy Ruiz to accept my challenge, but if not, I will be ready for whoever comes, because nobody wants to fight with a man they call ‘old.'”

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Luis Ortiz Declines Invitation For IBF Eliminator, Hrgovic Awaits Next Ordered Opponent

Filip Hrgovic has once again reached familiar ground.

Efforts to stage a final title eliminator for the unbeaten Croatian will proceed to the next available ranked contender to determine the mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, an invitation was submitted by the sanctioning body to Hrgovic and Luis Ortiz, the latter who declined the offer according to Hrgrovic’s team.

“It appears that Luis Ortiz just (withdrew),” Nisse Sauerland, Hrgovic’s co-promoter informed BoxingScene.com on Tuesday.

Messages for Ortiz and his team went unreturned as this goes to publish.

The invitation to enter talks for the final eliminator was submitted by the IBF on Monday, just two days after Miami’s Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs) earned a sixth-round stoppage of former titlist Charles Martin. The Cuban southpaw recovered from two knockdowns to score two of his own, the latter prompting a stoppage in the sixth round of their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View main event, which was billed as an IBF eliminator.

The sanctioning came with the understanding that the winner would next have to face Hrgovic (14-0, 12KOs). Ortiz and his team have since reversed course, likely with other plans already in place. There is speculation that the two-time title challenger—who turns 43 in March—will be steered towards a showdown with former unified heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. (34-2, 22KOs) later this year, though such a matchup remains limited for the moment to loose talk.

Meanwhile, Hrgrovic is in a similar place as was the case a year ago—in need of a dance partner to move within one win of challenging for his first major title.

The next highest ranked contender after Ortiz and Hrgovic is Joseph Parker (30-2, 21KOs), a former WBO titlist from New Zealand who is riding a six-fight win streak. The last five have come since signing his original promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing in 2019. Matchroom also serves as co-promoter for Hrgovic, along with Wasserman Boxing who absorbed Sauerland Event and its fighters last March.

Both boxers are coming off wins in separate bouts last December.

Hrgovic—a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Croatia who now trains in Miami—earned a third-round knockout of unbeaten but obscure heavyweight Emir Ahmatovic as part of a December 5 DAZN show from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout marked his second consecutive third-round knockout over an undefeated heavyweight, having done the same to Marko Radonjic last September 10 in Klagenfurt, Australia.

Parker scored a repeat win over Derek Chisora, looking far more impressive in their December 18 rematch than was the case when he barely edged the veteran gatekeeper last May. Both bouts took place at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.

If Parker accepts the forthcoming invitation from the IBF, a fifteen-day negotiation period will be granted between the New Zealand heavyweight and Hrgovic. Neither party can enter an agreement for another bout once the eliminator is formally ordered, per IBF rule 9.a.2 (Purse Bids—No Intervening Bouts).

Should Parker decline, the IBF is required to continue down the line until finding an available challenger. The heavyweight contenders ranked after Parker are a trio of unbeaten contenders: France’s Tony Yoka (11-0, 9KOs), the 2016 Olympic Gold medalist; England’s Joe Joyce (13-0, 12KOs), who lost to Yoka in the 2016 Olympic finals in taking home a silver medal; and Germany’s Agit Kabayel (21-0, 13KOs). 

The winner of the eventual IBF final eliminator will become the sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger to Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs), who also holds the WBA “Super”/WBO/IBO belts. Ukraine’s Usyk obtained the slew of belts in a September 25 win over England’s Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), the now former two-time unified heavyweight titlist who ended Parker’s 15-month WBO title reign in their March 2018 unification bout in Cardiff, Wales.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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Luis Ortiz Injured,Declines Invitation For IBF Eliminator; Hrgovic Awaits Next Ordered Opponent

Filip Hrgovic has once again reached familiar ground.

Efforts to stage a final title eliminator for the unbeaten Croatian will proceed to the next available ranked contender to determine the mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, an invitation was submitted by the sanctioning body to Hrgovic and Luis Ortiz, the latter who declined the offer according to Hrgrovic’s team.

“It appears that Luis Ortiz just (withdrew),” Nisse Sauerland, Hrgovic’s co-promoter informed BoxingScene.com on Tuesday.

A source familiar with the situation has informed BoxingScene.com that an injury is the cause for Ortiz not being available for this fight. Ortiz suffered a fractured hand in his win over Martin, with the time required to heal outside of the scope to negotiate terms for an eliminator with Hrgovic.

The invitation to enter talks for the final eliminator was submitted by the IBF on Monday, just two days after Miami’s Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs) earned a sixth-round stoppage of former titlist Charles Martin. The Cuban southpaw recovered from two knockdowns to score two of his own, the latter prompting a stoppage in the sixth round of their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View main event, which was billed as an IBF eliminator.

The sanctioning came with the understanding that the winner would next have to face Hrgovic (14-0, 12KOs). Ortiz and his team have since reversed course, likely with other plans already in place. There is speculation that the two-time title challenger—who turns 43 in March—will be steered towards a showdown with former unified heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. (34-2, 22KOs) later this year, though such a matchup remains limited for the moment to loose talk.

Meanwhile, Hrgrovic is in a similar place as was the case a year ago—in need of a dance partner to move within one win of challenging for his first major title.

The next highest ranked contender after Ortiz and Hrgovic is Joseph Parker (30-2, 21KOs), a former WBO titlist from New Zealand who is riding a six-fight win streak. The last five have come since signing his original promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing in 2019. Matchroom also serves as co-promoter for Hrgovic, along with Wasserman Boxing who absorbed Sauerland Event and its fighters last March.

Both boxers are coming off wins in separate bouts last December.

Hrgovic—a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Croatia who now trains in Miami—earned a third-round knockout of unbeaten but obscure heavyweight Emir Ahmatovic as part of a December 5 DAZN show from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout marked his second consecutive third-round knockout over an undefeated heavyweight, having done the same to Marko Radonjic last September 10 in Klagenfurt, Australia.

Parker scored a repeat win over Derek Chisora, looking far more impressive in their December 18 rematch than was the case when he barely edged the veteran gatekeeper last May. Both bouts took place at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.

If Parker accepts the forthcoming invitation from the IBF, a fifteen-day negotiation period will be granted between the New Zealand heavyweight and Hrgovic. Neither party can enter an agreement for another bout once the eliminator is formally ordered, per IBF rule 9.a.2 (Purse Bids—No Intervening Bouts).

Should Parker decline, the IBF is required to continue down the line until finding an available challenger. The heavyweight contenders ranked after Parker are a trio of unbeaten contenders: France’s Tony Yoka (11-0, 9KOs), the 2016 Olympic Gold medalist; England’s Joe Joyce (13-0, 12KOs), who lost to Yoka in the 2016 Olympic finals in taking home a silver medal; and Germany’s Agit Kabayel (21-0, 13KOs). 

The winner of the eventual IBF final eliminator will become the sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger to Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs), who also holds the WBA “Super”/WBO/IBO belts. Ukraine’s Usyk obtained the slew of belts in a September 25 win over England’s Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), the now former two-time unified heavyweight titlist who ended Parker’s 15-month WBO title reign in their March 2018 unification bout in Cardiff, Wales.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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Luis Ortiz Injured, Declines Invitation For IBF Eliminator; Hrgovic Awaits Next Ordered Opponent

Filip Hrgovic has once again reached familiar ground.

Efforts to stage a final title eliminator for the unbeaten Croatian will proceed to the next available ranked contender to determine the mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, an invitation was submitted by the sanctioning body to Hrgovic and Luis Ortiz, the latter who declined the offer according to Hrgrovic’s team.

“It appears that Luis Ortiz just (withdrew),” Nisse Sauerland, Hrgovic’s co-promoter informed BoxingScene.com on Tuesday.

A source familiar with the situation has informed BoxingScene.com that an injury is the cause for Ortiz not being available for this fight. Ortiz suffered a fractured hand in his win over Martin, with the time required to heal outside of the scope to negotiate terms for an eliminator with Hrgovic.

The invitation to enter talks for the final eliminator was submitted by the IBF on Monday, just two days after Miami’s Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs) earned a sixth-round stoppage of former titlist Charles Martin. The Cuban southpaw recovered from two knockdowns to score two of his own, the latter prompting a stoppage in the sixth round of their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View main event, which was billed as an IBF eliminator.

The sanctioning came with the understanding that the winner would next have to face Hrgovic (14-0, 12KOs). Ortiz and his team have since reversed course, likely with other plans already in place. There is speculation that the two-time title challenger—who turns 43 in March—will be steered towards a showdown with former unified heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. (34-2, 22KOs) later this year, though such a matchup remains limited for the moment to loose talk.

Meanwhile, Hrgrovic is in a similar place as was the case a year ago—in need of a dance partner to move within one win of challenging for his first major title.

The next highest ranked contender after Ortiz and Hrgovic is Joseph Parker (30-2, 21KOs), a former WBO titlist from New Zealand who is riding a six-fight win streak. The last five have come since signing his original promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing in 2019. Matchroom also serves as co-promoter for Hrgovic, along with Wasserman Boxing who absorbed Sauerland Event and its fighters last March.

Both boxers are coming off wins in separate bouts last December.

Hrgovic—a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Croatia who now trains in Miami—earned a third-round knockout of unbeaten but obscure heavyweight Emir Ahmatovic as part of a December 5 DAZN show from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout marked his second consecutive third-round knockout over an undefeated heavyweight, having done the same to Marko Radonjic last September 10 in Klagenfurt, Australia.

Parker scored a repeat win over Derek Chisora, looking far more impressive in their December 18 rematch than was the case when he barely edged the veteran gatekeeper last May. Both bouts took place at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.

If Parker accepts the forthcoming invitation from the IBF, a fifteen-day negotiation period will be granted between the New Zealand heavyweight and Hrgovic. Neither party can enter an agreement for another bout once the eliminator is formally ordered, per IBF rule 9.a.2 (Purse Bids—No Intervening Bouts).

Should Parker decline, the IBF is required to continue down the line until finding an available challenger. The heavyweight contenders ranked after Parker are a trio of unbeaten contenders: France’s Tony Yoka (11-0, 9KOs), the 2016 Olympic Gold medalist; England’s Joe Joyce (13-0, 12KOs), who lost to Yoka in the 2016 Olympic finals in taking home a silver medal; and Germany’s Agit Kabayel (21-0, 13KOs). 

The winner of the eventual IBF final eliminator will become the sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger to Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs), who also holds the WBA “Super”/WBO/IBO belts. Ukraine’s Usyk obtained the slew of belts in a September 25 win over England’s Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), the now former two-time unified heavyweight titlist who ended Parker’s 15-month WBO title reign in their March 2018 unification bout in Cardiff, Wales.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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Team Hrgovic: We Hope Luis Ortiz Will Take Up The Fight

Filip Hrgovic and his team hope that from the first IBF-sanctioned heavyweight fight of 2022 comes the chance to move within one win of challenging for his first major title.

Luis Ortiz emerged victorious in dramatic fashion, rallying from two knockdowns to score two of his own in a sixth-round stoppage of former IBF heavyweight titlist Charles Martin atop the January 1 Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The bout was billed as a title eliminator, though with work to do as Ortiz now replaces Martin as the number-two contender in the IBF heavyweight rankings.

Hrgovic is currently ranked number-three by the New Jersey-based sanctioning body.

On Monday, the IBF gave both boxers three days to confirm the desire to participate in a final eliminator, to determine the next IBF mandatory challenger for unified titlist Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs). Just as Miami’s Ortiz (33-2, 27KOS; 2NC) has for years claimed to be the division’s boogeyman, the unbeaten Hrgovic (14-0, 12KOs) feels his pain.

“From our side, we’re happy that someone is in place to take the challenge against Filip,” Nisse Sauerland, Hrgovic’s co-promoter—along with Matchroom Boxing—told Boxingscene.com. “If it’s Ortiz, then it’s Ortiz.”  

The 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Croatia—who now trains in Miami—spent most of 2021 aiming to secure an opponent for a final elimination bout. One was believed to be in place, when an ordered bout between Hrgovic and top American contender Michael Hunter made its way to a purse bid hearing which was won by Matchroom. Hunter opted out, instead agreeing to a multi-bout deal with streaming platform Triller where he has spent his last two fights.

Hrgovic has since fought twice, scoring back-to-back third-round knockouts versus unbeaten but untested opponents. The 6’6” heavyweight took out Marko Radonjic after three rounds last September in Klagenfurt, Austria, an event that came as a consolation prize after several IBF-ranked contenders refused to share the ring with him.

In his most recent start, Hrgovic needed less than seven minutes to ruin the unblemished record of Emir Ahmatovic this past December at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight was taken with the intention of next focusing on the outcome of Ortiz-Martin, with hopes that the winner—Ortiz—will agree to a fight that will position the winner to challenge for the unified heavyweight title.

“We’ve obviously been through the rankings a couple of times. Ortiz may have been injured at the time (of the IBF’s previous order),” notes Sauerland. “We hope that Ortiz will take up the challenge and we look forward to a great heavyweight spectacle. We have nothing but respect for Luis Ortiz and believe he will make it a good fight.”

Usyk is currently awaiting a fight date for his contractually bound rematch with former two-time unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs). The rotation for mandatory title defenses could leave the IBF challenger behind the WBA, though the latter has its own complications to sort out before identifying a challenger.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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Ortiz, Hrgrovic Given Three Days To Accept IBF Invitation To Enter Talks For Final Eliminator

Luis Ortiz’s post-fight victory lap will end with a hard decision to make.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has sent out a letter to both Ortiz and Filip Hrgovic on Monday, giving both heavyweight contenders three days to accept an invitation to enter talks for a final title eliminator. It comes on the heels of Ortiz’s come-from-behind sixth-round stoppage of former IBF titlist Charles Martin in their semi-final eliminator this past Saturday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

“Challenge accepted by Filip Hrgovic,” Nisse Sauerland, Hrgovic’s co-promoter exclaimed upon receipt of the correspondence from the IBF. “[Three] days and counting for Luis Ortiz to accept.”

Miami’s Ortiz (33-2, 28KOs; 2NC) entered Saturday’s Fox Sports Pay-Per-View headliner with the understanding that such a next step would be in the works. The Cuban southpaw agreed to a fight with Martin, with the winner to move within one fight of becoming the mandatory contender to the IBF heavyweight title held by unified WBA “Super”/IBF/WBO/IBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs).

Hrgovic (14-0, 12KOs)—a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Croatia who also trains out of Miami—has spent much of 2021 watching numerous heavyweights in the IBF rankings bypass the opportunity to enter a title eliminator. The 6’6” contender believed to have such a fight in place when co-promoter Matchroom Boxing won a purse bid hearing to secure the rights to an ordered final elimination bout between Hrgovic and Michael Hunter II (20-1-2, 14KOs).

Those plans quickly fell apart when Hunter decided to move in a different direction.

Hrgovic has since fought twice. Both have come against unbeaten but untested competition, each ending in a third-round knockout. The most recent outcome came December 5, when Hrgovic tore through Emir Ahmatovic as part of a DAZN show from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The hoped-for-plans by the IBF would pit arguably the division’s two most avoided contenders. Hrgovic has endured his own struggles to land relevant opposition, even with two promoters working around the clock on his behalf.

Ortiz—who turns 43 in March—has experienced much of the same really throughout his twelve-year career. The longtime top contender remains defined by his pair of competitive knockout losses to then-WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder, primarily because most of the rest of the division tends to look away when his name is mentioned.

The win over Martin was arguably the most significant of Ortiz’s career. It is certainly the best name on his resume since a December 2015 stoppage win over then-top ten contender Bryant Jennings.

The opportunity is now in place for Ortiz to accept an invitation to sit down with the division’s other boogeyman, though one that comes with a countdown clock.

Refusal by either party to enter such talks will prompt the IBF to go down the list of its current top fifteen contenders in search of the highest ranked available—and willing—heavyweight.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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Filip Hrgovic Warns Luis Ortiz: You Will Freeze From My Punches!

Kalle Sauerland, promoter for undefeated Olympic bronze medal winner Filip Hrgovic, cautions that Luis Ortiz will have to face his fighter in order to force a mandatory IBF title shot.

Hrgovic was ordered to take part in an IBF final eliminator, but he’s had a lot of trouble securing an opponent.

Ortiz, 42-years-old, took part in an IBF eliminator over the weekend. He stopped former IBF world champion Charles Martin is six rounds. 

The Cuban boxer was dropped twice on the contest, and found himself behind on the cards, before landing a huge shot in the sixth to have Martin out on his feet. Ortiz dropped Martin twice before the fight was waved off.

Sauerland is getting on the horn right away, with calls being made to the IBF to order a fight between Hrgovic and Ortiz.

“We’re waiting for the IBF to send out the letters and then of course we’ll be talking with Ortiz’s people,” Sauerland told Sky Sports.

“They are well known to us and we’ve worked with them before. That’s something that we’ll be doing in the next days as soon as those letters go out.

“There’s always that purse bid scenario as well, of course. I think not only will he [Hrgovic] make a statement beating Ortiz, but of course, the reward is a crack at the world title and that’s always been the mission.

“That’s something that Filip is going to absolutely take with both hands, so he’s delighted, we’re delighted, and we’re looking forward to putting on a great fight.”

Hgrovic, like Ortiz, is a big power puncher – and issued a warning to the Cuban boxer.

“Ortiz will freeze from my punches! My power will send him for a cold shower,” Hrgovic said.

The current IBF world champion is Oleksandr Usyk – who faces former beltholder Anthony Joshua in a rematch in the coming months.

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Hearn: Maybe An IBF Final Eliminator Against Filip Hrgovic Is Next For Joseph Parker

Eddie Hearn feels Joseph Parker has earned another heavyweight title shot.

The former WBO champion has won six consecutive fights since he lost back-to-back 12-round unanimous decisions to Anthony Joshua and Dillan Whyte in 2018. New Zealand’s Parker hasn’t participated in a world championship match since he lost his WBO belt to Joshua in their title unification fight in March 2018 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The 29-year-old Parker (30-2, 21 KOs) is ranked second by the WBO, fourth by the IBF and WBC and 13th by the WBA. Though rated highest by the WBO, Hearn, whose company co-promotes Parker, indicated after his second straight points victory over Dereck Chisora (32-12, 23 KOs) on Saturday night at AO Arena in Manchester, England, that the path toward an IBF title shot might make the most sense for Parker.

Oleksandr Usyk is the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion, but he was Joshua’s mandatory challenger for the WBO belt when the Ukrainian upset Joshua by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The turn of the IBF’s mandatory challenger therefore will come up next in the sanctioning organizations’ rotation for Usyk’s titles, which Hearn indicated could lead to Parker facing Filip Hrgovic in an IBF elimination match next.

“It was a great performance [by Parker],” Hearn stated during his post-fight interview with DAZN. “We talked about where does the winner and loser go? Dereck Chisora is a prizefighter. I’m sure he’ll be back. But Joseph Parker wants another shot at a world heavyweight title. There is a queue, but he’s positioned himself really well – maybe a final eliminator against Filip Hrgovic in the IBF is a great fight as well. Probably a good rest as well. But the career is alive and kicking for Joseph Parker, and he continues to chase that second world title. And it was a brilliant way to end 2021.”

The top spot in the IBF’s heavyweight rankings is unoccupied. Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) is ranked second, but his position could change because he is scheduled to fight favored Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs, 2 NC) on January 1 in a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Croatia’s Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) is ranked third by the IBF, one spot above the fourth-rated Parker.

Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) is contractually obligated to fight England’s Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) in an immediate rematch that is expected to take place sometime in the spring.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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