When Anthony Joshua’s main event was plunged into doubt following a Dillian Whyte failed VADA test, many fans called for Filip Hrgovic to step in.
The Croatian heavyweight is returning to the ring following a contentious win over Zhilei Zhang last August, and is looking to reinstate his bogeyman aura and keep a hold of his IBF mandatory position.
Given he’s fighting fit and set to appear on the undercard, Hrgovic seemed a natural, if risky, option for Joshua.
Promoter Eddie Hearn ultimately landed on Robert Helenius to fill Whyte’s place and face AJ, saying that the Hrgovic fight was dangerous on a week’s notice for both men.
‘El Animal’ revealed to Boxing Social that he was never approached about the fight, despite being keen.
“Of course I would like to jump in, but I wasn’t offered to jump in. But Helenius is a good opponent. It will be a good fight.”
Instead, Hrgovic will stick to the plan of fighting unbeaten southpaw, Demsey McKean. A win will be a welcome addition to the record that was last updated with that controversial victory over Zhang.
He believes he’ll be successful, and named the punch he hopes to end it with.
“I hope somebody is knocked out with a left hook.”
The winner of the fight will be first in line to face the winner of unified champion, Oleksandr Usyk’s, upcoming title defence against Daniel Dubois.
The Croatian enters the ring a favourite, but McKean is undefeated and a potential banana skin, especially given his lefty stance that Hrgovic encountered problems with against Zhang.
Hrgovic-McKean and Joshua-Helenius will be joined by Derek Chisora against Gerald Washington and Johnny Fisher against Harry Armstrong to make a bumper heavyweight card at London’s O2 Arena.