LAS VEGAS – Filip Hrgovic has never given much thought as to why many heavyweight contenders refuse to get in the ring with him.
In fact, the 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist was hoping to get an explanation from co-promoter Eddie Hearn as to why it is the case.
“You ask me, I should ask you that question,” Hrgovic replied to Hearn, who played double duty as promoter and host of Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference for this Saturday’s DAZN show from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “I don’t know what’s going on. You’re the biggest promotor in the world and I hope you’ll find someone to fight me, you know.
“I’m looking forward to big fights, I said to my promotors and you [Eddie] a long time ago I feel like I’m ready for everyone.”
For now, Hrgovic (13-0, 11KOs) settles for the opponent who did answer the call—Emir Ahmatovic (10-0, 7KOs), an unbeaten Serb now based in Germany who fights on U.S. soil for the first time. The bout comes in supporting capacity to WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney (26-0, 15KOs) who defends versus former IBF junior lightweight titlist and current WBC “interim” lightweight title claimant Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz.
Ahmatovic is the second straight undefeated but unheralded opponent for Hrgovic, who is coming off a third-round knockout of Montenegro’s Marko Radonjic (22-1, 22KOs) this past September 10 in Klagenfurt, Austria. Hrgovic scored five knockdowns en route to earning his sixth consecutive stoppage victory.
A win over Ahmatovic merely allows Hrgovic to remain active, with ambitious hopes of finally landing big fights in 2022.
The 6’6” heavyweight contender was poised earlier this year to fight an IBF title eliminator with Michael Hunter II, who walked away from a fight that made its way to a purse bid which was won by Matchroom Boxing. Hearn also claimed that offers were made to and dismissed by the handlers for Luis Ortiz and former titlists Andy Ruiz and Charles Martin, although the team-agreed intention with a win on Saturday is to return to the title elimination stage.
“I’m focused on boxing 100 percent and I’m looking for a big fight,” notes Hrgovic. “I’m focused on Saturday night, I don’t want to underestimate anyone, but I know I have the quality and talent to become the best fighter in the world.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox