By Manouk Akopyan
Mexican Mario Heredia embraced Croatian Filip Hrgovic with the respective flags of each country before their fight started Saturday night. They both posed in the middle of the ring for a picture carrying each other’s colors, a customary act mostly seen in international soccer matches.
The sign of sportsmanship was Heredia’s finest hour in the ring, as Hrgovic, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, waxed Heredia in three rounds with a knockout win.
Hrgovic (9-0, 7 KOs), who was eight inches taller and 40 pounds lighter than Heredia (16-7-1, 13 KOs), broke out of his upright and stiff stance and fired off crisp and powerful right hands that wobbled Heredia. He stumbled into the corner and Hrgovic made easy work of him from there as the unheralded Heredia spilled down. He picked himself up halfheartedly, but it was too little, too late.
Hrgovic, a decorated amateur, is on the developmental fast track and could be inserted in the heavyweight picture, perhaps as soon as the beginning of 2021.
Heredia walked into ring having beaten long-faded former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter in April. He also had tasted the canvas with a whopping 12 career knockdowns, which climbed to an unlucky 13 after Hrgovic was done with him.
The fight was featured on the undercard for the main event between WBC junior bantamweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada, who was taking on Dewayne Beamon at the Centro de Usos Multiples arena in Hermosillo, Mexico. It aired as part of Matchroom Boxing’s showcase on DAZN and Sky Sports.
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].