Home Boxing News Filip Hrgovic scores late round knockout of Demsey McKean to keep Oleksandr...

Filip Hrgovic scores late round knockout of Demsey McKean to keep Oleksandr Usyk fight in play

Filip Hrgovic vs Demsey McKean. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

IBF number one heavyweight contender Filip ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic 16-0 (13) kept his unbeaten record intact with a final round knockout of world rated Demsey ‘The Tower of Terror’ McKean 22-1 (14) in their 12 round contest at the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday night.

In what was largely a slow-paced affair, Croatian Hrgovic 31, was in control in the early rounds before McKean came into the fight in the fifth. Southpaw McKean battled hard through the back half of the fight but always seemed a half step behind.

Hrgovic rocked McKean in the ninth, forcing the 32-year-old Australian to clinch to survive. The end came early in the 12th when a right hand bomb detonated on McKean’s chin and a series of follow up blows that appeared to land towards the back of the head sent the underdog reeling around the ring.

Referee Marcus McDonnell observed McKean was in no fit state to continue and pulled the plug on the bout at the 1:01 mark of the final frame.

McKean, who trains under Tony Sims in the UK, talked a good fight coming in to the bout.

“I’ve been back in the UK since December and been in the gym since January,” McKean said at the pre-fight press conference.

“We were looking to fight in May and it got pushed back a bit, but it’s good that we got the date to hone in on and a blessing in disguise as we got more time with Tony Sims to learn, he is one of the best coaches in the world and it shows it with the stable of fighters he has, and I’m looking to put it all into play on Saturday.

“I wake up every morning and tell myself: 36 minutes is all it takes to change my life. There have been bigger upsets in heavyweight boxing and I think that this is a very even fight.

“He waffles on about ‘who has he knocked out that I haven’t knocked out?’ Well, who has he decisively beaten? He only has Zhilei Zhang and that was a controversial decision, so we have similar CVs as each other.

“He’s a good fighter, I just think I have the tools to beat him and give him a hell of a night. I have good footwork, good head movement, hand-speed, punch selection and good power.

“I’m just excited, I think he’s going to bring out the best in me, he’s a good contender and I can’t wait for that.”

Ring rust may have been a factor for Hrgovic, who seemed to fatigue late in the fight.

“I haven’t fought for a year, so I am happy to be back in the ring and one fight away from fighting for a world title,” Hrgovic said at the pre-fight press conference. “I am very excited, well prepared, and ready to rock and roll.

“I am glad the fight with Zhang happened, I didn’t look very well, but I know that was my worst night, but I beat a good fighter, you saw what he did to Joe Joyce, he showed he’s a top ten heavyweight and on my worst night I beat him.

“That’s good that I had that performance and people can underestimate me, because I know that I can do much better and I didn’t take this fight with Demsey lightly and I am ready for anything.”

“We will see – anything is possible in boxing and life. But I don’t see how he can beat me. He’s had 22 fights before, but I don’t see anything special in his game and as I said before, it’s one thing to be confident, but another to be delusional.”

With the win Hrgovic is now eying off a shot at WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 20-0 (13) who will defend his titles against Daniel ‘Dynamte’ Dubois 19-1 (18) in Poland on August 26.