Filip Hrgovic is not a happy man.
The unbeaten Croatian heavyweight continues to sit and wait for an opportunity to fight in an IBF final eliminator with the winner to go on and challenge for the world title. Hrgovic, the organisation’s number two contender, has seen the likes of Michael Hunter and now Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker turn down the opportunity to face ‘El Animal’ in a high stakes showdown.
“I’m really pissed off. It’s frustrating,” Hrgovic told Boxing Social’s Andi Purewal.
“Fighters should accept the challenge. That’s the boxing spirit.”
Co-promoted by Wasserman Boxing and Matchroom Boxing Hrgovic hopes to return to the ring in April having ended his 2021 in Las Vegas with a third-round win against Emir Ahmatovic. The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist’s professional record now stands at 14 wins with 12 inside the distance.
“Eddie Hearn was in Vegas and [he] promised me he will make big fight for me but still nothing happening. I was expecting some big name and still didn’t happen. I hope he fulfil his promise,” said Hrgovic.
One big name that won’t be facing him in April is Luis Ortiz. The 42-year-old Cuban reportedly suffered a hand injury in his sixth-round knockout win over Charles Martin on January 1. That now forces Oritz on to the sidelines and out of a fight against Hrgovic.
“I don’t believe injury,” Hrgovic said. “I’m disappointed because both of them (Ortiz and Parker) didn’t even start negotiations.”
Parker’s manager David Higgins told Sky Sports recently that a fight between his former WBO heavyweight champion and Hrgovic would be of no benefit financially.
“I thought it would be easy fight to make because we are both with him [Eddie Hearn] and [it] didn’t happen and I am really disappointed,” said Hrgovic who has reached a stage of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ should someone agree to fight him in the final eliminator.
“Information I have is Zhang accepted fight,” he said in response to stories that Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zang (ranked 13 by the IBF) will step up to the plate
“I don’t believe anything. I’ve been waiting for my shot for a year. I hope it’s true.”
To watch the full interview with Filip Hrgovic click here.
Writer’s note: Reports emerged today (Wednesday) that a rematch of the 2016 Olympic super-heavyweight contest between Hrgovic and Tony Yoka (11-0, 9 KOs) may be on the cards. Yoka was victorious on that occasion and went on to take the gold. The IBF have set a deadline of Thursday at 10pm for the final eliminator to be agreed. However, Nisse Sauerland from Wasserman Boxing told Sky Sports that they had received no reply from Yoka.