Filip Hrgovic stopped Rydell Booker in five one-sided rounds in Hollywood, Florida on Saturday night to maintain his unbeaten professional record.
‘El Animal’ is now 12-0 with 10 wins inside distance after a sustained beatdown of his friend and former sparring partner on the big DAZN show topped by Devin Haney vs Yuriorkis Gamboa. It was the first time Booker had been stopped in the paid ranks.
The 28-year-0ld Olympic bronze medalist from 2016 remained on track for a potential world title shot at some stage in the future with a dominant performance against the 39-year-old Booker (now 26-4).
Booker had taken Kubrat Pulev – who meets Anthony Joshua next month – the distance in his last outing in 2019.
He came in looking distinctly flabby round the mid-section and after initially throwing out some sharp jabs and combinations, he settled back onto the ropes to absorb punishment behind a high guard.
Hrgovic meanwhile was given carte blanche to tee up that crushing right hand which has done so much damage already in his professional career.
Hrgovic vs Booker: One-way traffic
By the second round Booker was throwing very little back and he was sent to the canvas late in the session by a chopping right hand which crowned a sustained flurry from Hrgovic.
The next two rounds provided more of the same with Booker trying to defend but throwing little in terms of meaningful punches. This brought numerous warnings from the referee that he would stop the fight if this continued.
The end duly came early in the fifth with Booker again shipping heavy punches and failing to throw anything of note in return.
Hrgovic was pleased with his performance, saying afterwards: “I think my performance was good. From the first bell i dictated the pace. I threw a lot of punches and I landed a lot of punches and I think the referee did a good job to stop the fight.”
Now the Croatian, is desperate to step up and meet the best the heavyweight division has to offer. If only they will step up and fight him.
“I would like to fight the best in the division. It will be tough for my promoters to make those fights,” he said.
“Come on guys, sign that contract. Everybody we send the contract to declines.
“I feel ready, I want a hard fight. Nobody wants to sign to fight ‘El Animal’.”