Zhang continues war of words against Hrgovic

Current WBO No.1 heavyweight Zhilei Zhang (26-1,21 KOs) has continued his war of words with former foe Filip Hrgovic (17-0 14KOs).

In 2022, Zhang and Hrgovic faced one another in Saudi Arabia as part of the supporting cast to Oleksandr Usyk’s rematch and maiden unified world heavyweight title defence against Anthony Joshua. Hrgoivc scraped through against Zhang, courtesy of a razor-thin unanimous points decision. But many ringsiders felt Zhang had done enough on the scorecards. 

Following the August 2022 clash, Zhang called for a rematch and was not shy expressing how he felt about the Croat. With victory over Zhang, Hrgovic found himself as the No.1 and mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title, held by Usyk.

However, the Chinese star returned with a bang in 2023 with back-to-back stoppage wins over former Olympian Joe Joyce in April and September to capture the WBO’s mandatory challenger status.

Zhang, speaking about Hrgovic to FightHype, questioned the caliber of opponents Hrgovic has since boxed.

“When you look at Hrgovic’s resume, he was gifted a win by the referee when he beat me to become the mandatory challenger,” said Zhang. “He [Hrgovic] has had two pretty low-level fights to stay busy because he is scared to lose that position.

“He fought Demsey McKean from Australia over 12 rounds, and he kept hitting him on the back of the head.”

Zhang doubled down his argument by saying: “Right now, I can call Hrgovic the professional of hitting on the back of the head because every fight, every round, he is hitting his opponent on the back of the head.

“Yes, he knocked Mark De Mori out, but he kept hitting him on the back of the head too, that is what he does.”