By Daniele D’Alessio: According to Kalle Sauerland, Luis Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) has rejected his IBF final eliminator against Filip Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs). The opportunity has been offered to Joseph Parker (30-2, 21 KOs) instead who is next in line.
Ortiz recently stopped Charles Martin (28-3-1, 25 KOs) in the sixth round to move up the IBF rankings and post-fight claimed he was willing to fight any heavyweight to capture the title.
However, the 42-year-old now wants no part of Hrgovic who he would have to beat for a shot at the world championship.
The heavy-hitting Croatian is an esteemed amateur who won gold at the 2015 European boxing championships and bronze at the 2016 summer Olympic games.
Since becoming professional he has continued to be impressive by knocking out over 80% of his opponents, including previously undefeated heavyweights such as Marko Radonjic (22-1, 22 KOs) and Emir Ahmatovic (10-1, 7 KOs).
With Ortiz out of the picture, Parker may be Hrgovic’s next opponent and the winner could be ordered to face Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) or Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) depending on who wins the rematch.
The man from New Zealand has just come off a spectacular victory against Dereck Chisora (32-12, 23 KOs) who he beat via a 12 round unanimous decision.
Parker is more experienced than Hrgovic as a professional and has been in the ring with top heavyweights such as Joshua and Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs). Therefore, it could be a fascinating contest to see how good the Croatian boxer is.
Since working with Andy Lee, Parker has shown vast improvements and he too will be looking to prove that he can become a world champion again.
Nonetheless, Parker could also reject the bout which leaves Joshua, Tony Yoka (11-0, 9 KOs), and Joe Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) next in the IBF rankings.
As for Ortiz, the Cuban may still want to fight for a world title but could be looking for an easier route.
Who will Hrgovic fight next and is he a future world heavyweight champion?