Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic (pictured) spoke at the press conference in Saudi Arabia a few days before he comes up against China’s Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1, 19 KOs) in an IBF final eliminator. The fight previously fell through [in the wake of Hrgovic's father's death], but everyone is excited as both fighters look ahead to Saturday. “It’s great to be a part of this huge event, I’ve been waiting for this fight for almost two years,” said Hrgovic. “Like you said, we’ve been through a whole list where a lot of fighters didn’t want to fight with me, and I’m glad we’ve found someone who wants it. Thanks to Zhang and his team.” Hrgovic is listed as 14-0 but professional bouts in the World Series of Boxing put his true record more accurately at 40-4.
Zhang is a difficult southpaw, with power in his hands, and someone who shares the confidence of his Croatian opponent having never tasted defeat in his professional career. It is the confidence in his conditioning that Hrgovic believes will separate these two fighters. A mutual respect has been apparent throughout from both camps, but he believes Zhang will struggle to maintain the pace that will be put on him.
“We are both big guys, we are both big punchers,” said Hrgovic. “The thing is that he’s dangerous over a few rounds, whereas I am dangerous over the whole fight. I’m dangerous for twelve rounds, that is the difference.” He continued, “I am going to be the co-main event alongside all these ex-champions and contenders, it is a really big honour for me. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and you’re not going to regret it. We will produce an incredible fight.”