Filip Hrgovic did exactly what was expected of him in Riyadh on Saturday as he disposed of the overmatched Mark De Mori inside a round on that massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ card.
‘El Animal’, one of the most feared fighters in boxing’s heavyweight division, was a 1/66 betting favourite to see off an Australian who taught himself how to box by watching YouTube videos.
And so it proved as the fearsome Croat, mandatory challenger for the IBF world title currently held by Oleksandr Usyk, improved his record to 17-0 with 14 of those victories coming inside the distance. De Mori fell to 41-3-2 with the defeat.
On paper this was clearly the most one-sided bout on a stacked card, and many punters were betting on him to end proceedings inside a round. He duly had them collecting their winnings by making it a very early night.
Hrgovic closes the show early
The 31-year-old Hrgovic, who many had felt was lucky to get the nod over Zhilei Zhang in their meeting last year, was never going to experience similar problems here against the 41-year-old De Mori. And so it proved.
As soon as Hrgovic showed any real aggression De Mori was in big trouble, eating two powerful rights from the Croat. The second saw him taking a knee for an eight count just a minute into the bout.
It was now just a matter of time, though De Mori was game enough and tried to show some aggression. He was just delaying the inevitable though and Hrgovic started to really dish out some fearsome punishment. Although he was warned for hitting De Mori on the back of the head, he resumed the assault before the whole thing was waved off less than two minutes into proceedings.
In truth this told us nothing we didn’t already know. De Mori is a great story, but Hrgovic is a top-tier heavy who appears to be going places. End of story.
Hrgovic said afterwards: “I expected this scenario. This was more of a stay busy fight and I am looking forward to my title shot in the future. He’s a brave guy, thanks to him and his team for accepting the fight.”