Filip Hrgovic back at last after a tough year

Filip Hrgovic is ready to take his frustration out on Marko Radonjic after almost a year on the sidelines when the pair lock horns in Austria on Friday night.

Hrgovic vs Radonjic on TV

Hrgovic (12-0 with 10 wins inside distance) faces a fellow unbeaten fighter in the ‘Montenegro Hammer’ (22-0 with 22 inside distance) at the Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt (live on RTL in Croatia and DAZN globally).

The 29-year-old from Zagreb has not fought since defeating Rydell Booker in Florida last December – the first stoppage defeat of Booker’s career.

Since then it has been a tale of frustration for Filip, who had literally everybody in the IBF top 15 turn down the chance to fight him in a final eliminator. That would have given Hrgovic the chance to become mandatory for the title currently held by Anthony Joshua.

Hrgovic admitted: “I’m very happy to be back in the ring,” after weighing in at just under 247lbs (17st 9lbs).

“It’s been a tough year. We’ve had a lot of problems finding opponents so I’m thankful to Marko for accepting this challenge. He is obviously a brave guy to be willing to fight me when a lot of top heavyweights refused.

“I’ve been in training camp for almost a year. I’ve done a lot of sparring and I’m in great shape. I just feel sorry for my opponent because I am going to put a year of preparation into this fight. Tomorrow night El Animal is back!”

Radonjic (249lbs or 17st 11lbs) meanwhile also has a big opportunity to state his claims for a move up in class, explaining: “Filip is one of the best heavyweights in the world. He had a good amateur career, but so did I. People say I have a strong punch, but that’s not everything in boxing.

“It’s good to have 22 wins and all by knockout, but I have other strengths too. I’ve come here to fight. Filip is good, but I am too. Remember that. Let’s get ready to rumble.”

Hrgovic vs Radonjic undercard

Sheffield’s rising Super-Lightweight star Dalton Smith (8-0, 7 KOs) looks to pick up his second professional title when he takes on Madrid’s Brian Pelaez (10-5, 1 KO) for the WBA Intercontinental belt, Islington’s John Ryder (29-5, 16 KOs) keeps busy against Slovakia’s Jozef Jurko (8-2, 6 KOs) as he waits for a World Title shot and Takeley Light-Heavyweight John Hedges (2-0) continues his development in the pro ranks when he meets Croatia’s Frane Radnic (11-25, 10 KOs).