FILIP Hrgovic would be willing to fight Zhilei Zhang once again.
The two heavyweights faced one another last August as part of the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua 2 undercard in Jeddah. Hrgovic got the decision on all three scorecards which had little between them (114-113, 115-112 twice).
Many thought that Zhang had done enough to get the nod and his case was made all the stronger when he dropped the Croat in the first round.
Since that fight the Chinese southpaw turned in a career best win and performance when he defeated Joe Joyce last month. The manner of his victory caught much attention with Zhang repeatedly catching the Brit with big damaging punches before the fight was stopped in round six.
Hrgovic 15-0 (12) spoke to Boxing News about the possibility of a return bout against Zhang.
“One hundred per cent I would like to fight him. I’ll go whenever he wants. I go to China to fight him, to give him rematch. I think it was close fight, but I think I beat him. It was my worst performance ever. It was [a] few months after my father passed away. I was not feeling very well, and I think in the rematch I knock him out definitely.”
The 30-year-old watched Zhang triumph over Joyce and was glad of the result. Hrgovic now believes that result boosts his own credibility.
“He destroyed him,” said Hrgovic.
“In one way I’m glad that happened because he showed he’s the real deal that he’s a real fighter. I beat him so my price go up with him beating Joe Joyce. I’m happy that I shut the mouth of lot of haters that was telling [me] that Zhang, when I beat him, he’s too old, that he’s not so good, that he’s not elite. So, in my worst performance I beat him.”
Joyce has said in recent interviews that he plans to take up the rematch clause and face Zhang once again. BN asked Hrgovic how he sees Zhang-Joyce 2 playing out should it take place.
“I don’t see how Joe will beat him,” he answered.
“Zhang totally outclassed him and neutralised all his weapons. I don’t see Joyce beating him, so I expect similar night like the first fight. Joe’s a tough guy but he’s limited technically and he’s not so fast. So, it will be very hard for Joe to beat him especially because now Zhang his confidence is in the sky and I think [it’s] a very hard task for Joe Joyce to come back.”