Filip Hrgovic will watch with an analytical eye from a ringside seat August 26, when Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois will fight for Usyk’s heavyweight titles.

Now that he has defeated Demsey McKean, Hrgovic hopes to fight the Usyk-Dubois winner next because he is the IBF’s mandatory challenger for one of Usyk’s championships. With boxing being boxing, of course, Hrgovic (16-0, 13 KOs) realizes that he’ll have to rely on the IBF to enforce its rules after the unbeaten Ukrainian southpaw makes a mandatory defense of his WBA belt against England’s Dubois.

“You know, I should fight Usyk next, and I think I deserve that,” Hrgovic stated during a post-fight interview that was posted to Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel Sunday. “But, you know, in boxing everything is possible, so we’ll see what’s gonna happen.”

When asked to deliver a message to Usyk and Dubois, Hrgovic replied, “[My] message is follow the rules and the winner should fight me next.”

Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) will end more than a one-year layoff when he battles Dubois at Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland. London’s Dubois (19-1, 18 KOs) has won four straight fights, all by knockout, since countryman Joe Joyce stopped him in the 10th round of their November 2020 bout in London.

Usyk, 36, is still listed by most sportsbooks as at least a 12-1 favorite to win their fight for the former undisputed cruiserweight champion’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight crowns.

“I see Usyk like [a] big favorite to win that fight because [he’s] quicker and he’s a really, really good fighter,” Hrgovic said. “But Dubois is a good puncher, big guy, so he has a good straight right hand. And you never know in boxing.”

The 6-foot-6, 243-pound Hrgovic halted his own 11-month layoff Saturday night, when he stopped Australia’s McKean in the 12th round on the Anthony Joshua-Robert Helenius undercard at O2 Arena in London. Their IBF elimination match was reasonably competitive prior to Hrgovic hurting McKean (22-1, 14 KOs) in the final round and producing a TKO victory that kept him in line for a title shot.

“Actually, I thought it [was] gonna happen earlier,” Hrgovic said of the stoppage. “I thought I was gonna knock him out in [the] first six rounds. But he did very well. Hat [off] to him. He received some good shots and recuperate, so he’s a decent fighter. … He’s a big guy, he’s really well prepared. And I think he need a little bit more experience in the gym and I think he can do really well.”

The 31-year-old Hrgovic considered his performance “decent” in his first fight since a debatable unanimous-decision defeat of since-crowned WBO interim champion Zhang Zhilei (25-1-1, 20 KOs) last August 20 at Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist noted that southpaws are “tricky,” but Hrgovic gave McKean credit for his toughness as well.

“I [was] surprised that he took some good shots and continued, you know, coming, throwing punches,” Hrgovic said. “He’s a brave guy, you know? He’s a brave guy and, like I said, I expected maybe to knock him out earlier. But it didn’t happen, so it happened in the 12th round, so I’m happy.”

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