By Jake Tiernan: Still bitter about his controversial victory over Zhilei Zhang last year, Filip Hrgovic is offering to give him a rematch in Beijing, China, in front of “one billion Chinese people.”
Unfortunately for Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs), the boxing world saw him as the loser against Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs), and some of them feel the only reason he was given a decision last August is the popular Eddie Hearn promotes him. Hrgovic was the A-side for that fight with Zhang last summer.
If not for that, they think that Zhang would have been given the win in their fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The judges scored it 115-112, 114-113, and 115-112 for Hrgovic. Zhang knocked Hrgovic down in the first round and out-punched him through most of the fight.
Zhang is on top of the world right now after stopping interim WBO heavyweight champion Joe Joyce in the sixth round last Saturday night in London to earn the WBO mandatory spot to challenge IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Hrgovic has nothing to offer Zhang to entice him to defend his newly won interim WBO heavyweight title for a rematch. The boxing world already views Zhang as the winner of that fight, so he gains nothing by giving Hrgovic a rematch. The Croatian heavyweight will have to live with being viewed as the loser of that fight and try and forget about it.
“There’s no chance he beat me. If you watch the fight again and you count the punches and count the points. I throw in that fight more than 700 punches. He throw around 300 punches, so there’s no chance that he beat me,” said Filip Hrgovic to iFL TV about his fight against Zhilei Zhang last August in Saudi Arabia.
“I heard a lot of people say it was a controversial decision, but I would like to give him a rematch,” said Hrgovic about Zhang. “Let him take some rest and let’s do a rematch at the end of this year. What about that? I come to Beijing. I beat him in front of one billion Chinese people. What about that?
“I swear with my father’s name that I will go to China and knock him out. On my worse night, I beat that guy. On my best night, he’s not going past the sixth round.
“I won the fight on all three scorecards. Three judges score it for me. I won by a unanimous decision. It was a close fight. I cannot tell you I won decisively. It was a close fight, but I beat him clearly. I won like eight rounds in my head. I won eight rounds. He won four rounds,” said a bitter-sounding Hrgovic.
“He had that knockdown in the first round, so I beat him clearly. One thing about that fight. Before that fight, my father passed away two months before that fight. We were really connected, and I had the worse time of my life.
“In that fight, I was not myself. I was not 100% of my performance. My whole training camp, I did not feel good because of the loss of my father. I had a new coach for that fight. I started working with Ronnie Shields. So even on my worst night, I beat the guy that just destroyed [Joyce].
“I’m glad the world can see now what’s going on. I can just be better. I can’t be worse. Like I said, I just had the worse period of my life, and in my next fight, I can just be better.