Croatian Boxing Spectacle: Hrgović Back after 10 Months, Mavrović after 23 Years!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Igor Kralj / PIXSELL
Igor Kralj / PIXSELL

Filip Hrgović has his first fight this year in Klagenfurt tonight. Before him, in one of the pre-fights, Željko Mavrović enters the ring for the first time since 1998, and the great evening of Croatian boxing is completed by Petar Milas, whose opponent in Paris is one of the best young heavyweights of today, Tony Yoka, reports

Boxing has not been in the center of attention of the Croatian sports public for a long time, but tonight’s program is an excellent reason to change that for at least one day.

Hrgović’s first fight in 10 months

Hrgović had not fought since November last year when he defeated Rydell Booker in the fifth round by technical knockout and formally won the IBF International heavyweight title in the US. 

Since then, Hrgović and his camp have complained that no one wants to accept a fight against him, picking on some of the top heavyweights who could bring him closer to fighting for the world title. In the meantime, he duly ignored Alen Babić’s challenges, justifying that he was below his level, and then arranged a fight with Montenegrin Marko Radonjić, the 229th heavyweight on BoxRec’s list.

Radonjić is a 31-year-old from Cetinje who has 22 professional fights and 22 victories behind him, all by knockout. The ratio seems scary, more impressive than Hrgović’s (12 wins, 10 knockouts), but Hrgović is by far the most renowned fighter he has ever encountered.

At yesterday’s weigh-in in the center of Klagenfurt, Hrgović weighed 112 kilograms, which is in line with his usual weight for fights, while Radonjić weighed slightly more (113.2 kg).

Mavrović returns after 23 years

At the same Matchroom boxing event, Željko Mavrović will return, who last fought in 1998 for the world title against Lennox Lewis. Croatian boxing fans remember the seventh round, in which Mavrović had the fantastic Briton on the ropes. Still, he failed to finish it and eventually lost by a unanimous decision of the judges.

And such a defeat, the first after 27 consecutive victories, was quite an undertaking given Lewis’ power at the time, and many expected his career to flourish after that, as he had not yet entered his 30s, the best years for a boxer. He is now in his 50s, and they are long behind him, but after watching the clash of the legends between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, he became motivated, and now his ultimate goal is to arrange a fight against Tyson.

Mavrović went from boxing to entrepreneurship, but his business with macrobiotics failed. In recent years, he has been sought after in numerous roles in the world of boxing, but he has not held any of them, except for commentary on RTL. He left it to others for tonight because he would be on the opposite side of the camera.

His opponent is the 26-year-old Georgian Ramazi Gogichashvili, a “journeyman” who fights often and mostly loses. He has won 14 fights in his career, lost 35, and two ended in a draw, but even such a ratio is misleading as he has won only two of 26 fights in the last five years. He was last caught by Croatian boxer Agron Smakići two weeks ago and knocked out by Alen Babić two years ago.

At the official weigh-in, Mavrović weighed 99.2 kg, and Gogičašvili weighed significantly more – 111 kg.

The Croatian Boxing Federation did not issue a license to Mavrović, so tonight will be a revival fight.

Split’s Milas faces Yoka

In Paris, a little further west at the Roland Garros tennis center, an event will take place where Peter Milas will fight the young French star Tony Yoka. Like that of Hrgović and Radonjić, it will be a clash of two undefeated boxers. Yoka has won all ten fights (eight by knockout) and Milas all 15 (11 by knockout).

Like Hrgović, the 26-year-old from Split owns the international champion belt, but according to the IBO version. This will be his first fight in almost two years when he defeated South African Johnny Muller by a unanimous decision. Yoka has a path similar to Hrgović’s, whom he defeated in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. Milas is conceived as one of his opponents on the way to the world title.

Milas fights with about 100 kilograms, so this time as well. He weighed in at 100.8 kg, and Yoka at 108.3.

Of all three Croatian fights tonight, the first on the program is Mavrović’s, expected at 19:30, with a broadcast on RTL 2.

Filip Hrgović should start at around 22:30, and Milas should be in the ring against Yoka at around 22:00. RTL will broadcast these two fights on its first channel.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

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