Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |


Filip Hrgovic-Demsey McKean added to Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte II card

Filip Hrgovic replaces Oscar Rivas in the heavyweight rankings. Photo by Maja Bota
Fighters Network

Heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic will finally make his return to the ring.

Hrgovic will square off against Demsey McKean in a clash of unbeaten heavyweights on August 12, Matchroom Boxing announced Friday afternoon. The 12-round bout will precede the main event bout between former unified world titleholder Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, which is a rematch of their 2016 clash.

Both fights will take place at the O2 Arena and will stream live on DAZN around the world and on DAZN PPV in the UK and Ireland.

“We have a monstrous night of heavyweight boxing in store for fight fans around the world on August 12, live from the sold-out O2 in London,” said Matchroom Boxing Chairman Eddie Hearn. “Old foes Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte meet again in a must-win clash at the top of the bill and I’m excited to confirm what will be a stacked card.

“The IBF’s No. 1-ranked heavyweight Filip Hrgovic returns a year on from his final eliminator win over Zhilei Zhang in Saudi Arabia. ‘El Animal’ fights in the UK for the first time as a professional against unbeaten Demsey McKean, who secures the biggest fight of his career.”

The 31-year-old Hrgovic (15-0, 12 knockouts), who resides in Zagreb, Croatia, is currently ranked No. 10 by The Ring. The close decision win over Zhang took place on August 20. 

Prior to the win over Zhang, Hrgovic has defeated Emir Ahmatovic and Marko Radonjic, both of whom were unbeaten, and Rydell Booker, Eric Molina, Gregory Corbin, and Amir Mansour.

Late last year, the IBF ordered Usyk to defend the unified world title belts against Hrgovic. That order was rescinded in January after the IBF admitted Daniel Dubois, the WBA secondary world titleholder, was next in line in rotation with the sanctioning bodies. Usyk also owns the WBA world title. 

Hrgovic, who is co-promoted by Matchroom Boxing and Kalle Saureland, is eager to face Usyk, but understands he must defeat McKean on August 12 for that to happen.

“The heavyweight champion cannot avoid me any longer and, once I have defeated Demsey McKean on August 12, they will have no other option but to face me,” said Hrgovic. “I have waited patiently and bided my time, but the game is up. ‘El Animal’ is coming for you and is ready to take the belts back to Croatia. 

“McKean will be a tough and strong opponent, but he has never faced anyone as powerful and skillful as me. August 12 is the night the heavyweight division starts to change.”

McKean (22-0, 14 KOs), who is originally from Ipswich, Australia and now resides in Brentwood, England, knocked out once-beaten Patrick Korte in his last bout on October 15. McKean also has wins over unbeaten Kiki Toa Leutele and Jonathan Rice.

The 32-year-old may be the underdog going into the Hrgovic fight, but is confident he can secure a definitive win on August 12.

“This is what it’s all about, the big fights,” said McKean. “I’ve been grinding a big portion of my life for a big fight like this. I’m one win away from fighting Usyk for four world titles. This is my world title fight.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]


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