Saturday, 22 January 2022

Filip Hrgović Awaits Yet Another Opponent as Tony Yoka Withdraws from IBF Final Eliminator

January 22, 2022 - It has been a whirlwind of unfortunate events for Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović, who now waits for yet another new opponent in the IBF Final Eliminator. 

It's been quite the last few weeks for Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović. After Tony Yoka accepted Hrgović's offer for a big rematch, on Friday morning it was confirmed that there will be no fight, reports Boxing Scene and Gol.hr.

The IBF ruled in favor of an appeal filed by Martin Bakole who rebelled because he felt Tony Yoka owed him a fight. He and Yoka were due in the ring in December in France, but that fight was postponed due to the pandemic. Since the French fighter owes him a fight, Yoka cannot make a deal with any other fighter.

Martin Bakole's lawyers provided evidence confirming that the fight was only postponed to April this year and not completely canceled as claimed by the Yoko team.

This means that the IBF is searching for a new opponent for Filip Hrgović, who was previously rejected by Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker.

Joe Joyce is expected to be next on the list, but he is still recovering from his injury. If he refuses the invitation, the IBF could contact Agit Kabayel, and next on the list is Chinese boxer Zhilei Zhang, who has already spoken publicly about the fight with the Croatian boxer and who again seems to be the most realistic opponent.

For now, Hrgović and his team will wait for one of the mentioned boxers to accept the IBF invitation. The boxers have three days to respond to the offer, followed by negotiations.

The winner of that fight will wait for the outcome of the upcoming rematch between Oleksandr Usik and Anthony Joshua, which should take place in the spring.

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Friday, 14 January 2022

Filip Hrgović and Tony Yoka to Fight in IBF Final Eliminator

January 14, 2022 - Filip Hrgović and Tony Yoka have agreed to fight in the IBF Final Eliminator for the Heavyweight World Championship.

Filip Hrgović has finally won the fight of his career! His opponent will be his biggest rival yet, Frenchman Tony Yoka, reports Gol.hr.

After famous boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced the news, it was officially confirmed by Hrgović's managers, the Sauerland brothers. 

"CONFIRMED: @TonyYoka has formally accepted tonight in writing the challenge to fight @Filip_Hrgovic in a final IBF Final Eliminator for the Heavyweight World Championship - El Animal has found a dance partner," reads their announcement on Twitter. 

Recall, due to COVID-19, the Frenchman lost the fight against Martin Bakole, while Hrgović was rejected by Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker. Yoka received a tempting offer as the next ranked fighter. 

Tony Yoka is arguably the best boxer against whom Hrgovic will meet in the ring for the first time as a professional fighter. Recall, the two have fought three times in amateur competitions. The French boxer won twice and became the Olympic champion in 2016, beating Filip Hrgović in the super heavyweight semifinals by a controversial split decision. Yoka went on to win the gold medal over Joe Joyce after an even more disputed call. 

Both boxers are currently undefeated as professional boxers - Yoka (11-0, 9 KO) and Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KO). 

Negotiations on the division of earnings and the location of the fight will follow. But one thing is for certain - it will be the biggest boxing spectacle in Filip's career. 

As for the position of the main challenger of the IBF champion, the winner of this fight will have the opportunity to box for the IBF champion belt. However, when that will take place is not yet clear because this belt is held by Oleksandr Usik who will fight Joshua first, and then await Tyson Fury, and so on. 

A victory would surely bring Hrgovic great things, while a defeat would be a big step backward in his career.

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Monday, 3 January 2022

Hrgović against Luis Ortiz? Promoters Tease Filip's Biggest Pro Boxing Fight

January 3, 2022 - Croatia's best boxer Filip Hrgović is hard at work preparing for new challenges, and allegedly everything has been agreed upon for his next fight. So could it be Filip Hrgović against Luis Ortiz?

Namely, Hrgović's promoters, the Sauerland brothers, announced that Luis Ortiz's manager accepted the fight against the Croatian boxer, reports Gol.hr

Hrgovic's opponent in the "final eliminator", i.e., the qualifying fight for the chance to become a world champion, should be 42-year-old Cuban Luis Ortiz.

It would be Filip Hrgović's biggest professional boxing fight. Luis Ortiz has been at the top of international boxing for years. Today, at the age of 42, he is the 10th heavyweight globally. He has 33 wins and only two defeats in his career.

He knocked out Martin on Saturday

On Saturday, Ortiz defeated Charles Martin, one of Hrgović's many undefeated opponents, by technical knockout in the sixth round and improved his professional ratio to 33-2-2 (28 knockouts). The only two defeats were against Anthony Joshua in the title fight. If he wants a third chance, he will have to beat Hrgović first, who would be the most formidable opponent in his career so far (14-0), reports Index.hr.

"Hrgović against Ortiz in the final eliminator. Who wins?" Brothers Kalle and Nisse Sauerland wrote on Twitter, then tweeted on Instagram, where they tagged Ortiz's promoter Jay Jimenez and thanked him for accepting the fight.

A belt fight eliminator or final eliminator?

ESPN writes that Ortiz's next opponent could be Andy Ruiz, Joseph Parker, or Joe Joyce, which the Sauerland brothers followed with a contradictory comment: "He has to fight Hrgović if he wants the final eliminator." Therefore, it is not clear whether the winner of this fight would immediately get a chance for the IBF belt or only then go to the final qualifiers.

Hrgović was tipped for many great fights last year, mostly against Martin but also against Yoka, Parker, Zhang. He fought only against unknowns like Kartozija, Radonjić, and Ahmatović, and returnee Booker in the last two years. Despite routine victories, he dropped to 37th place in the world in the BoxRes rankings, even though he was once close to the top ten.

Hrgović has been boxing professionally for four years and is currently undefeated. 

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Saturday, 20 November 2021

Filip Hrgović Las Vegas Fight Confirmed for December 4 against Scott Alexander

November 20, 2021 - The Filip Hrgović Las Vegas fight has officially been confirmed for December 4, when the Croatian boxer will meet American Scott Alexander at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović (13-0) will have his next professional fight on Saturday, December 4 in Las Vegas against American Scott Alexander (16-4-2), whom BoxRec ranks 179th among the best heavyweights in the world, reports Sportnet.hr.

Hrgović thus returns to the ring after winning against Montenegrin Marko Radonjić on September 10. According to the IBF, the Croatian heavyweight is next in line for the fight of challengers in the heavyweight category. Charles Martin will fight Luis Ortiz on January 1, 2022, and the winner of that match could be Hrgović's next opponent.

"I am looking forward to returning to the ring and fighting at the big spectacle in America. I’ve always wanted to box in Las Vegas, where the big champions fight. My next opponent is tough, but I trained hard, and I will be ready to give the fans another great fight," said Hrgović.

Hrgović's promoter Kalle Sauerland thanked Eddie Hearn, with whom this match was organized in cooperation.

"We are thrilled to have teamed up with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing to give Filip this fantastic opportunity to fight in Las Vegas as part of a big event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This is an opportunity for Filip to end the year with another win before focusing on the 2022 World Champion title."

Manager Željko Karajica adds that Filip is ready and believes that 2022 will be a great year for him.

"As always, Filip struggled to be in top form when he entered the ring. I'm sure a fight in a big show like this one in Las Vegas will give him even more motivation. Filip is getting closer to the challenge for the 2022 world title. It may be a great year for him, but he must first get through Scott Alexander on December 4."

Eddie Hearn also spoke, claiming that Hrgović is ready for a great 2022.

"It's great to get Filip back in action before the end of 2021. El Animal is knocking loudly on the door of big opponents in the heavyweight division, and next year we expect him to break that door and participate and win some big fights."

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Friday, 10 September 2021

Croatian Boxing Spectacle: Hrgović Back after 10 Months, Mavrović after 23 Years!

September 10, 2021 - A Croatian boxing spectacle will be witnessed tonight thanks to Filip Hrgović, Željko Mavrović, and Peter Milas!

Filip Hrgović has his first fight this year in Klagenfurt tonight. Before him, in one of the pre-fights, Željko Mavrović enters the ring for the first time since 1998, and the great evening of Croatian boxing is completed by Petar Milas, whose opponent in Paris is one of the best young heavyweights of today, Tony Yoka, reports Index.hr.

Boxing has not been in the center of attention of the Croatian sports public for a long time, but tonight's program is an excellent reason to change that for at least one day.

Hrgović's first fight in 10 months

Hrgović had not fought since November last year when he defeated Rydell Booker in the fifth round by technical knockout and formally won the IBF International heavyweight title in the US. 

Since then, Hrgović and his camp have complained that no one wants to accept a fight against him, picking on some of the top heavyweights who could bring him closer to fighting for the world title. In the meantime, he duly ignored Alen Babić's challenges, justifying that he was below his level, and then arranged a fight with Montenegrin Marko Radonjić, the 229th heavyweight on BoxRec's list.

Radonjić is a 31-year-old from Cetinje who has 22 professional fights and 22 victories behind him, all by knockout. The ratio seems scary, more impressive than Hrgović's (12 wins, 10 knockouts), but Hrgović is by far the most renowned fighter he has ever encountered.

At yesterday's weigh-in in the center of Klagenfurt, Hrgović weighed 112 kilograms, which is in line with his usual weight for fights, while Radonjić weighed slightly more (113.2 kg).

Mavrović returns after 23 years

At the same Matchroom boxing event, Željko Mavrović will return, who last fought in 1998 for the world title against Lennox Lewis. Croatian boxing fans remember the seventh round, in which Mavrović had the fantastic Briton on the ropes. Still, he failed to finish it and eventually lost by a unanimous decision of the judges.

And such a defeat, the first after 27 consecutive victories, was quite an undertaking given Lewis' power at the time, and many expected his career to flourish after that, as he had not yet entered his 30s, the best years for a boxer. He is now in his 50s, and they are long behind him, but after watching the clash of the legends between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, he became motivated, and now his ultimate goal is to arrange a fight against Tyson.

Mavrović went from boxing to entrepreneurship, but his business with macrobiotics failed. In recent years, he has been sought after in numerous roles in the world of boxing, but he has not held any of them, except for commentary on RTL. He left it to others for tonight because he would be on the opposite side of the camera.

His opponent is the 26-year-old Georgian Ramazi Gogichashvili, a "journeyman" who fights often and mostly loses. He has won 14 fights in his career, lost 35, and two ended in a draw, but even such a ratio is misleading as he has won only two of 26 fights in the last five years. He was last caught by Croatian boxer Agron Smakići two weeks ago and knocked out by Alen Babić two years ago.

At the official weigh-in, Mavrović weighed 99.2 kg, and Gogičašvili weighed significantly more - 111 kg.

The Croatian Boxing Federation did not issue a license to Mavrović, so tonight will be a revival fight.

Split's Milas faces Yoka

In Paris, a little further west at the Roland Garros tennis center, an event will take place where Peter Milas will fight the young French star Tony Yoka. Like that of Hrgović and Radonjić, it will be a clash of two undefeated boxers. Yoka has won all ten fights (eight by knockout) and Milas all 15 (11 by knockout).

Like Hrgović, the 26-year-old from Split owns the international champion belt, but according to the IBO version. This will be his first fight in almost two years when he defeated South African Johnny Muller by a unanimous decision. Yoka has a path similar to Hrgović's, whom he defeated in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. Milas is conceived as one of his opponents on the way to the world title.

Milas fights with about 100 kilograms, so this time as well. He weighed in at 100.8 kg, and Yoka at 108.3.

Of all three Croatian fights tonight, the first on the program is Mavrović's, expected at 19:30, with a broadcast on RTL 2.

Filip Hrgović should start at around 22:30, and Milas should be in the ring against Yoka at around 22:00. RTL will broadcast these two fights on its first channel.

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Saturday, 27 February 2021

Filip Hrgovic will Meet American Michael Hunter in Fight of Career, Date TBD

February 27, 2021 - Filip Hrgovic will meet American Michael Hunter in the fight of his career. If he wins, he will fight for the IBF world champion title. 

Index.hr reports that the best Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović (12-0), will meet American Michael Hunter (19-1-1).

His Team Sauerland confirmed this on social media, where a poster of the two boxers was posted. The date of the fight is not yet known.

Whoever wins this fight will get a chance to win the IBF title. Namely, the winner awaits the better of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

The date of the fight is not yet known.
Hunter is currently fourth in the challenger rankings and was supposed to fight second-placed compatriot Charles Martin, but the latter has since withdrawn. 

Since the third challenger, Ukrainian Oleksandr Usik, is not interested in the IBF title and allegedly wants to box for the world title according to the World Boxing Organization (WBO) version, the next in line is Hrgovic. The IBF title, let us remind you, is held by Briton Anthony Joshua.

Hrgovic's British promoter Eddie Hearn said recently that he had already offered this fight to Hunter but received no response. However, it is one thing to box against Hrgovic in a regular fight and another for the first challenger's position in the IBF rankings, writes boxingnews24.com.

Namely, the Hrgovic - Hunter fight winner will finally get the opportunity to box against the winner of two fights between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

Hunter has said before that Hrgovic's promoters have his number and are free to contact him.

"Hrgovic and I fought twice in the same program last year. I fought harder opponents every time, and after the fight, I would ask them: Why don't you want to let me fight Filip Hrgovic? They answered me how there is always a green light and that they are just preparing him for that caliber of fighting. If he is ready, so am I. I am absolutely ready to fight against Hrgovic; in fact, I have asked for it a couple of times already," Hunter said last year.

For the Croatian boxer, this means a chance for a direct path to the title. It brings risk, but it would be accepted by anyone who wants to progress, especially because Hunter is not a particularly big world name and is smaller than Hrgovic.

According to the BoxRec rankings, Hunter is the seventh heavyweight in the world, and in front of him are big names like Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, and Fury.

Hrgovic holds 20th place on the list of the best heavyweights in the world.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Filip Hrgovic Announces Zagreb Fight in December

November 10, 2020 - Croatian boxer Filip Hrgovic announces Zagreb fight in December if all goes to plan. 

The best Croatian heavyweight boxer Filip Hrgovic (28), who reached his 12th professional victory with a triumph against 39-year-old American Rydell Booker, announced on his return to Zagreb that he has the opportunity to fight again this year, but that a real breakthrough in the IBF challenger rankings is expected next year when he should fight someone from the top of the world in February or March.

"It is best to be at home; I am happy to be back," said Hrgovic in a good mood and thanked everyone for welcoming him at Zagreb Airport.

"The referee made a good decision to end the fight. Booker had no control and was behind in points. He might have endured another round, but that wouldn’t make sense; he’d get even more beatings. I think I played that fight very well, and I am the first to manage to ‘finish’ him. Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, who has twice fought for the world title, won it by a referee's decision after ten rounds," Hrgovic said.

The next fight should be on December 19 in Zagreb, but that has not been confirmed yet. The location is unknown at this time.

"It will probably be without an audience; we just need a place for the ring and cameras."

After the victory against Booker, he named the boxers he wants to fight next.

"The ones I called out, I should fight against them in February or March. But an agreement needs to be made with them. It doesn't matter who it would be, but it is important that it is an opponent from the top of the world and that it resonates worldwide. If that fight goes well, I should be among the top five on the IBF challenger rankings. Also, then next year, I could have three or four fights," said Hrgovic and added:

"Our goal is to fight for the IBF title. I may fight for the title as early as next year or 2022. But it may never be. We will have to wait to see how things develop."

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 8 November 2020

Filip Hrgovic Books his 12th Career Victory, Celebrated with Technical Knockout

November 8, 2020 - Great news for the Croatian boxing world, as Filip Hrgovic books his 12th career victory!

Filip Hrgovic reached his 12th victory after defeating Rydell Booker with a technical knockout in Florida on Saturday evening. Booker entered the ring with 112.4 kilograms, 2.4 more than Hrgovic, but that couldn't help him much in the end. 

In the first round, Hrgovic proved just how much better he was, though he didn't fully show his dominance over the American boxer until the second round when the judge had to count Booker twice.

His domination continued in the third round, but Booker held his own and showed why no one ever beat him by knocking him down. The best Croatian boxer continued with relentless attacks, and the judge decided that it was enough only in the fifth round. Booker could no longer defend himself and received so many heavy blows that the judge decided to stop the fight for his health.

"Thanks to Booker for accepting the fight. He's a great warrior; he had a hard life. I had a good fight; a lot of tough plays, the referee made the right decision. I thought I would knock him out sooner, but I did a good job. Next, I want to fight the best in the division. Let's go, people, sign the contract, it's not that hard. I am impatient, I feel good, and I want a hard fight. Boxers mostly talk via Instagram and don’t want to fight El Animal. I need big names. Michael Hunter, Daniel Dubois, Povetkin, Dillian Whyte, Chisora, I want them all," Hrgovic said after the fight.

This was Hrgovic's 12th fight in his career and 12th win.

Hrgovic was weighed in on Friday before the fight with 110 kilograms, 2.4 kilograms less than his opponent.

"I didn't come here to be Booker's friend; I intend to finish him. You'll see a great fight tomorrow before the knockout because I need to box him. I'm not just going to knock him out; I'm going to show my boxing skills," he said before the fight.

Source: Index.hr

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Filip Hrgovic Will Fight Rydell Booker in Florida this November

October 3, 2020 - Croatian boxer Filip Hrgovic will fight Rydell Booker, a 39-year-old American and former sparring partner trying to revive his career after his release from prison, on November 7 in Florida.

Index.hr reports that Hrgovic's promoters responded to messages from critics questioning whether the program they had designed for the Croatian champion made sense. After the match against Kartozia, a boxer who is not even among the 600 best in the world, Hrgovic answered that it is up to his promoters to organize the fights, and it is up to him to be ready for any fight.

And while Kartozia received a boxing ban of a few months, Hrgovic enters the ring again a little over a month after the knockout in Denmark. He has already left for America, where he will prepare for the fight against Booker.

The American has had 29 fights and won 26 times in his professional career. He lost three times, in 2004 to James Toney, in April 2019 to Jermaine Franklin, and recently against Bulgarian boxer Pulev.

Booker, who will turn 40 in February, was one of America’s most promising heavyweights at the turn of the century. Born in Detroit, Booker had 22 straight wins by mid-2004, winning an IBA title match against James Toney, who had earlier demolished Evander Holyfield. The winner would get a chance to box for the world title.

However, in parallel with his boxing career, Booker also built a criminal one. Five months before the fight with Toney, he was arrested along with three other men for possessing more than a pound of cocaine and was awaiting trial.

"I had to accept that fight even though I wasn't ready for it. I needed money for expensive court costs, and I had no choice," said Booker years later, who lost to Toney by a unanimous decision of the judges after 12 rounds.

Hrgovic believes that he will bring down Booker without any problems.

"I can't wait to fight in America. Booker is a skilled fighter; he had a good fight against Pulev. He kept his distance and won the first couple of rounds; he endured 12 rounds. I can do much better. I will finish this fight earlier. Booker was one of my sparring partners before the fight with Corbin. I know him well, and he knows me well. He scanned me. I am looking forward to the fight. He has good technique and skill, but I am more prepared, and in better shape, and I think he will not be able to bear my strength and pressure," Filip Hrgovic said.

His promoters from Team Sauerland predict that by the end of 2021, Hrgovic will be fighting for the world heavyweight title.

"Filip can hurt any heavyweight at the moment. He has dynamite in both hands, he showed that in the last fight, and he will show it against Booker. Filip must stay in rhythm and fight because a challenging year awaits us. He is ready to fight for the title of champion," said Nisse Sauerland, Hrgovic's promoter, announcing the new fight.

He recently said he would not give up on a deal to fight British boxer, Daniel Dubois.

Sauerland confirmed that the fight is still in the plan, and by the end of 2020, he could be in the ring for the third time.

"After Booker, we hope to fight one more time by the end of the year. We're trying to keep Filip busy and going in the right direction," Sauerland explained.

There have been rumors for some time about the clash between Hrgovic and Dubois, a duel between two upcoming fighters who should be at the top of international boxing for a long time.

"We are definitely considering a fight with Dubois, he is constantly progressing; he is completely different than a few years ago. We will see him as he really is in the next fight against Joe Joyce, in my opinion, it is completely open. But the fight between Dubois and Hrgovic will happen soon, in a year, no matter how Dubois fares against Joyce," Sauerland said, adding that this is the perfect time for Hrgovic to fight for the top of world boxing because the heavyweight division has never been more exciting, after a boring era dominated by the Klitschko brothers.

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Sunday, 27 September 2020

VIDEO: Croatian Boxer Filip Hrgovic Knocks Out Kartozia for 11th Career Victory!

September 27, 2020 - Croatian boxer Filip Hrgovic returned to the ring in the best way possible after a 10-month break, knocking out Greek opponent Alexandre Kortozia. His next opponent will be Rydell Booker, Hrgovic's former sparring partner who once fought for the title of world champion.

Net.hr reports that the best Croatian boxer Filip Hrgovic recorded his 11th victory in the same number of fights in his professional career. He knocked out Greek Alexandre Kartozia in the second round, who did not offer too much resistance.

In the second round, less than a minute was enough for Hrgovic to finish this fight. And there was no salvation for Kartozia - a brutal right-hander put the Greek to sleep, knocking him out instantly as he fell on the ropes in the ring.

After the fight, Hrgovic's coach Yousef Hassan spoke about the win.

"I ran into the ring after the match and saw a man, he almost died. He couldn't get air. Filip really has a bomb in his hands, that right one is really strong," said Hassan and added:

"Filip and I bet before the match about which round the fight would end and we said it would be over in the second. We are returning home happy with the victory, we are more experienced now, and didn't work for 10 months for nothing,", said Hassan and announced the standard ritual that goes after every one of Hrgovic's victory.

“We go to McDonalds, eat some unhealthy burgers, and then we go home. In a couple of days, we're going on the hunt for Booker. Something ugly is waiting for him as well,"  concluded Hassan.

Hrgovic returned to the ring in the right way after a break of ten months. His next opponent will be Rydell Booker, Hrgovic's former sparring partner who once fought for the title of world champion.

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