Boxing: Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic accepts Joseph Parker's challenge for heavyweight showdown

  • 11/01/2024

Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker appears to have found a willing next opponent for his next bout in Croatian Filip Hrgovic.

On Wednesday, Hrgovic took to social media to confirm his interest in a bout with Parker, who mentioned him as a candidate to share the ring as part of the Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou card to be held in Riyadh on March 10.

"I heard that Joseph Parker wants to fight me in March on Joshua-Ngannou undercard," Hrgovic said in an X post.

"I am very happy to hear that. 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, baby."

The South Aucklander is eager to stay active and keep the momentum from last month's brilliant shutout of American Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia going - a fourth straight victory in less than 12 months that has propelled the former WBO champion back into title contention.

Parker had originally sought a rematch Anthony Joshua, only for that plan to be scuppered by the Brit's commitment to take on former UFC world champion Francis Ngannou.

A bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympics, Hrgovic has 14 knockouts in his 17-fight undefeated career, most recently dismantling Mark De Mori as part of the event which also featured Parker's victory over Wilder. 

That result ensured Hrgovic remains the mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title, which the winner of Tyson Fury's undisputed heavyweight championship bout with Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh in February is expected to vacate, given the rematch clause in place.

By the time the rankings are updated, No. 3 Parker will likely be the next ranked challenger for the IBF belt, meaning he'd be guaranteed a title shot.

Also mentioned on Parker's wishlist were China's Zhilei Zhang - who Hrgovic beat via unanimous decision back in 2022 - and Andy Ruiz Jr, who he edged for the vacant WBO title in 2018.