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Filip Hrgovic pulls out of Zhang Zhilei fight for Saturday’s Canelo vs. Bivol card

Canelo Alvarez, Dmitry Bivol boxing photo

By Allan Fox: This Saturday night’s Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol card has taken a big hit with highly ranked 2016 Olympian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic pulling out of his IBF title eliminator against Zhang Zhilei had been set for the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The promoters for the event, Matchroom Boxing, have been aware of the 29-year-old Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) needing to pull out, and they’ve been looking for a replacement to face the 39-year-old two-time Chinese Olympian Zhang. Hrgovic’s father reportedly passed away, making it necessary for him to pull out of the card.

The undercard is a mixed bag with the Hrgovic vs. Zhang fight now off the card. There’s some talent on the card with Montana Love, Marc Castro, and Shakhram Giyasov, but nothing screams out at you like the Hrgovic-Zhang fight.

The promoter for Hrgovic had been trying for the longest time to find an opponent to face him in an IBF title eliminator. The winner of the IBF eliminator would have been the mandatory challenger to champion Oleksandr Usyk.

“Hrgovic withdrew in recent days because of the death of his father about a week ago, according to sources,” said Dan Rafael at Bigfightweekend. “After learning of the elder Hrgovic’s passing, Matchroom Boxing launched a search for a new opponent to face Zhang on short notice knowing there was a good possibility that Hrgovic would eventually pull out.”

Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) will be challenging unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) for his belt in the main event. Although Canelo is a 4:1 favorite to win with the oddsmakers, there’s the possibility that he’ll lose to Bivol.

Canelo hasn’t faced anyone notable in the last four years since his questionable win over Gennady Golovkin in 2018, and Bivol is by far the best fighter the Mexican star will have faced since then. Some believe that Bivol is a bigger version of Golovkin, but with superior mobility & boxing skills.

We saw how Canelo was arguably beaten twice by Golovkin in their two fights, so you can see what the superstar is up against on Saturday night. If things get out of hand early, Canelo might need a knockout to defeat Bivol, which won’t be easy.

Bivol has been in with several bigger punchers than Canelo during his career, and the only one that gave him any trouble with their power was Joe Smith Jr. when he hit him after the bell in their fight in 2019.

Canelo vs. Bivol undercard

Montana Love vs. Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela
Zhilei Zhang vs. TBA
Shakhram Giyasov vs. Christian Gomez
Joselito Velazquez vs. Jose Soto
Alexis Espino vs. Aaron Silva
Marc Castro vs. Pedro Vicente Scharbaai
Elnur Abduraimov vs. Manuel Correa




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