Impatient Hrgovic calls out heavyweight contenders: Sign the contract!

By Sports Desk November 08, 2020

Filip Hrgovic has challenged fellow heavyweight contenders to stop avoiding him after dismantling Rydell Booker with ease to remain unbeaten.

The Croatian stopped his former sparring partner inside five rounds on the undercard to Devin Haney's points victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa, continuing his rise as he aims to step out of the shadows in a crowded division.

Hrgovic boasts a 12-0 record and while there are some notable names on the list of previous opponents – his professional CV includes knocking out former world title challenger Eric Molina in three rounds, as well as beating the experienced Kevin Johnson on points – the former amateur star is ready for a step up in class.

Speaking to DAZN after becoming the first fighter to stop Booker, the 28-year-old made clear he is growing "impatient" having been avoided in the past.

"I would like to fight the best in the division," Hrgovic said in his post-fight interview. "It will be hard for my promoters and my manager to put those fights together, but I want the best in the division.

"Come on guys, sign that contract! Everyone we sent a contract to declined. I'm not so tough - sign the contract!"

He added: "I'm impatient. I had a long amateur career, long WBSS (World Boxing Super Series) and I feel ready. I want a hard fight, a lot of Instagram boxers just talk, no one wants to sign a fight with me."

While admitting he is not quite ready to take on the leading names such as Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, Hrgovic called out plenty of others who he hopes will step up to face him.

Among the list were Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte, who had been due to meet in a rematch on November 21 until the former contracted COVID-19.

"I need a couple of hard fights, a couple of big names at the level below those guys you mention [in Joshua, Fury and Deontay Wilder]," Hrgovic said.

"I'm looking for these kinds of fighters: Michael Hunter, Zhang Zhilei, Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Povetkin, Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora... I want all these guys to fight.

"That will be my preparation for the best in the division."

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    Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO titles will be on the line in the bout, while the unbeaten Fury currently holds the WBC belt.

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    Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn revealed recently that organisers in Saudi Arabia plan to "shock the world" with a purpose-built venue for the much-anticipated bout.

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    "They want to create something very, very special. Last time they built a stadium for the Andy Ruiz Jr fight in just seven weeks and it held 18,000," Hearn told Sky Sports.

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    While Joshua had previously talked up the prospect of fighting at Wembley, the fighters will do battle in Saudi Arabia, ahead of a second bout later in 2021.

    "August 7 or August 14," Joshua's manager Hearn told Sky Sports News when asked when the first fight would take place.

    "Look, I think it is a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia – I don’t mind giving you that information as Bob Arum has already done it.

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    "We are very comfortable, Anthony is comfortable, he knows those people, they delivered on every one of their promises last time - so we are ready to go.

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    The update from Hearn comes after Joshua and Fury exchanged barbs on social media, with each calling on the other to take action and agree terms.

    Joshua said he and his fans were "tired" of delays and called for more action from the Fury camp.

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    Hearn is frustrated that a deal is not finalised despite broad agreement between the two camps.

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    Joshua has a 24-1 record after avenging his only career defeat to Ruiz prior to defeating Kubrat Pulev in London and defending his titles at the end of last year.

    Fury is undefeated in 31 contests, with one draw against Deontay Wilder, the American who he beat in their rematch to claim the WBC crown in February 2020, which was the last time he fought.

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