Filip Hrgovic: 'I need to punish this guy really really bad'

Aside from the first part of the press conference, where promoter Frank Warren raved about the Day of Reckoning event, there was an interaction between heavyweight Filip Hrgovic (16-0, 13 KOs) and his opponent Mark De Mori (41-2-2, 36 KOs) that was the highlight. Things got quiet around the room when Hrgovic said, “I need to punish this guy really, really bad like he stole something.”

It looks as though Hrgovic intended to have a somewhat respectful approach to the press conference, but that quickly changed when his opponent, De Mori, spoke. When the host asked De Mori about his preparation for Hrgovic, De Mori did not hold back at all.

“Hrgovic is obviously a big favorite,” said De Mori in his opening comment. “He’s a big, strong guy with long punches and a good chin. Every man is human. Every man has organs. With my kind of power, of course, it’s simple. I’m not going to win on points. I’m going to start on fourth gear, and the pressure is on him. He’s overlooking me. I’d overlook me if I were him too. I’m going to try and break him in half. Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

De Mori wouldn’t stop there, as he knows how the odds are stacked against him. A decision will likely not go in his favor, so a stoppage is what he will need to walk out of there with a victory in hand. “It's a ten-round scheduled fight. I have absolutely no desire to go ten rounds. I have the arms of a tyrannosaurus rex. I’m not going to out-jab him. I’m going to get in close and break him in half. It’s the only chance I have.”

Filip Hrgovic: ‘Let’s get down, let’s get down to business’

It was a statement made with a serious face by the 6’6” Hrgovic as he made it sound like a tune. It was an interesting way to start his comments, but it also tricked everyone into thinking he would deflect the comments made by his opponent. Oh, were we wrong. Hrgovic quickly turned his smile into a sinister look, letting everyone know that the mood had changed. 

“I had plan with this guy to let him box a few rounds, but because of these nasty words, I will need to punish him earlier. He has some Croatian roots, and I had planned to be nice with him, but this changed everything.” The fight wasn’t one that everyone had circled on their card as one to watch, but this interaction during the press conference quickly made this matchup one to watch on Saturday.

Aside from making an impression with the world watching, the winner will get a shot at the IBF heavyweight title next year if the winner between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury vacates the title or is stripped. Who will punch their ticket to a title shot on Saturday night? Let’s hope the fight delivers from the trash-talking exchanged earlier today.