Hrgovic vs. Zhang To Decide
IBF World Title Contender
First details of the supporting cast to the colossal Unified
Heavyweight World Title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and
Anthony Joshua have now been confirmed. The rivals will lock
horns again in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia on Saturday August 20.
Avoided Croatian Heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic (14-0, 12
KOs) meets China’s undefeated Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1, 19 KOs)
in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Heavyweight World Title.
The rivals were originally set to clash on the undercard of
Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol in May but will now do
battle on the Red Sea.
Hrgovic sits at No.3 in the IBF rankings and the big-hitting
giant has been hunting a dance partner for a showdown to
name the mandatory challenger for the title held by
Ukraine’s Usyk. The 30-year-old Olympic bronze medallist has
cut a lethal swathe through the pro ranks to sit in a prime
position for a deserved shot at the big prize, ending all
but two of his fights inside the distance, and not going
past the fifth round in his last seven outings.
I respect a fighter like Zhilei Zhang, especially as there
were plenty of others who could have fought me and didn’t.
The respect stays outside the ring, and it’ll be business as
usual for me when I step in there and look to do what I do
best; put people away,” said Hrgovic.
“There’s a huge amount at stake in this fight. I’m a fighter
who belongs at the top of this division, and there’ll be no
doubt about this when Zhang is dealt with and I go on to
beat whoever it is out of Usyk or Joshua.”
He continued,” I’m entering my prime, and now is the perfect
time to be putting myself up against the top fighters in
this division. I will become the heavyweight champion of the
A host of Heavyweights were offered the clash with ‘El
Animal’, but not until it came to No.15 ranked Zhang was a
dance partner found, with the lofty Chinese star accepting
the challenge. The 39-year-old has been circling for a major
showdown, and ‘Big Bang’ gets his wish against Hrgovic with
the two KO artist promising to leave it all in the ring with
the stakes so high.
“I’m looking forward to August 20,” said Zhang. “My team and
I have been grinding every hour of every day for this fight.
Hrgovic is going to be the toughest opponent in my
professional career. A victory will secure me the IBF
mandatory challenger position, which is why this fight is so
important to me. I will be in the best shape I’ve ever been
Wasserman’s Head of Global Boxing, Kalle Sauerland, said,
“Filip’s opportunity to fight for a belt has always been an
inevitability. If not for a personal loss in his life, he
would already be confirmed as next in line to go on and
begin ruling this heavyweight division.”
“The cream always rises to the top, and if you look at the
targeted opponents who didn’t want to step into the ring
with an animal like Hrgovic, there’s plenty of people who
obviously agree that’s the level he belongs at,” he said.
“Zhang was man enough to step up in the end, but whether it
would have been Zhang, or any other heavyweight within the
top 15 of this division, the outcome will always be the
same. AJ and Oleksandr have a big fight ahead of them, but
make no mistake that their toughest fight is yet to come.”