Filip Hrgovic has had his say on former opponent, Zhilei Zhang, beating Joe Joyce in London via sixth round stoppage.
The Croatian heavyweight won a contentious decision against China’s Zhang last year, and his name was a regular feature in the build-up to the Joyce fight, with most pundits and members of the promotion believing Zhang got the better of him.
‘Big Bang’ clinically beat Joyce this weekend and left no doubt. His powerful left hand caused the right eye of the Brit to swell, and from then it was target practice. The referee, aided by the ringside physician, called a halt to it when the injury was only getting worse.
Hrgovic told iFL TV he was happy with the result because it translated well for his standing in the sport.
“To be honest with you, I’m happy because of this fight. Because Zhang showed that he’s the real deal. I got a lot of criticism in my last fight when I defeated him. It was close fight but I beat him on all scorecards.
Now he’s showed he’s the real deal – he just came to London, destroyed Joe Joyce. He outboxed, outpunched him. He just destroyed him, so I’m happy. I knew that Joe was going to have a hard time with him. I was surprised that Joe even accept to fight him.”
‘El Animal’ – who remains undefeated in 15 fights – then targeted Joyce’s promoter, Frank Warren, claiming that he produced ‘only hype jobs’ in both Joyce and Daniel Dubois.
“I just want to say, Frank Warren was telling a lot of s**t after my fight with Zhang. He talk a lot of s**t. What can he tell me now? I destroyed Daniel Dubois in sparring and now his fighter [Joyce] got beat by the fighter I beat.”
“I want to ask him one question – why he is producing only hype jobs?”
“Frank you ask why I was considered a bogeyman. So now you see why I was considered bogeyman, because on my worst night I beat Zhang and he came to London and destroyed your fighter in six rounds … F***ing piece of s**t.”
Hrgovic said that he was willing to rematch Zhang this year, but that the decision would ultimately fall to his management. As it stands, he’s one behind Dubois in the queue to challenge for Oleksandr Usyk’s unified heavyweight titles.