Betting preview: Filip Hrgovic to showcase his punching power in Austria

Hrgovic is regarded as one of the biggest threats to Joshua and Fury and could be challenging for world honours by 2022.

When: September 10

How to watch it: DAZN, 7pm BST.

Where: Worthersee Stadium, Klagenfurt, Austria

Having been out of the ring for almost a year, exciting Croatian heavyweight prospect Filip 'El Animal' Hrgovic is back in action this evening as he takes on unbeaten Montenegrin rival Marko Radonji for the IBF International heavyweight title, live on DAZN.

Scheduled for 10 rounds at the Worthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria, Hrgovic will be making his first appearance of the year, having dispatched Rydell Booker inside five rounds in November 2020.

Seen as one of the divisions most dangerous and perhaps most avoided opponents, the unbeaten Croat (a 2016 Olympic bronze medallist) boasts notable victories over heavyweight gatekeepers Eric Molina and Kevin Johnson.

He will be putting his 12-0 record on the line against the unbeaten but unheralded German-based Montenegrin Marko Radonjic.

The heavy-handed 29-year-old Hrgovic has also scored knockout wins over Mario Heredia and Amir Mansour and comes into this bout as an overwhelming odds on favourite with Planet Sport Bet to claim win number 13 of his fledgling career.

While Radonjic boasts a 22-0 unbeaten record with all 22 wins coming by KO, only his last three opponents entered the ring with winning records. A padded resume, one might say.

Now the No.4 IBF heavyweight contender, Hrgovic is expected to make quick work of his 31-year-old opponent in what looks like a stay busy bout for the Croat who is being lined up for a potential IBF eliminator towards the end of the year.

Of course, Hrgovic will need to come through Friday's contest unscathed to maintain his path towards a possible eliminator contest, with Martin Bakole tipped as a likely opponent.

Hrgovic struggling for name recognition

Considered one of the brightest prospects in the heavyweight division, Hrgovic has certainly found it difficult to attract some of the bigger names in his weight class.

Hrgovic offers plenty of risk and little reward for those waiting for Golden ticket bouts against divisional rulers Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Having been scheduled to take on American Michael Hunter in an IBF final eliminator contest back in May - that fight was cancelled after Hunter pulled out - instead of choosing to appear on the Teofimo Lopez Triller promoted card next month, a decision that has left Hrgovic distinctly unimpressed with the once-beaten California native.

"To me, he's not a fighter," said Hrgovic when asked about his thoughts on Hunter pulling out of the proposed bout "As Kalle said, it's a big, big opportunity.

"He would face Anthony Joshua if he beat me, and he would make millions. So he refused that fight, and I don't consider him a fighter. I don't have words to describe that. I just think it's not fighting spirit," said Hrgovic.

Not short in confidence, Hrgovic believes he is on the right path for a rapid ascension to the top of the division, despite the lack of a truly big scalp in his 12-fight professional career thus far.

"You're looking at the most complete heavyweight in the world," said Hrgovic

"I've got power, I've got speed, I'm smart, I'm pretty, and the whole package. So, I will be the best heavyweight in the world soon"

Hrgovic avoided at heavyweight

Co-promoted by Eddie Hearn and Kalle Sauerland, there is little doubt that Hrgovic possesses plenty of the tools and talent to go far in the division.

Given the promotional expertise now behind him, opportunities to fight some of the divisions' bright lights should be in the Croat's not too distant horizon.

Hrgovic must first overcome his Montenegrin foe and, having struggled to find a more recognisable opponent in recent months, Hearn still believes fireworks should be expected in Austria come Friday's main attraction.

"Filip Hrgovic is one of the most avoided men in the heavyweight division, and finding an opponent with the courage to step in the ring with him has been a challenge," said Hearn.

"Virtually the whole of the IBF top-15 turned down the opportunity to face him in a final eliminator.

"It's great to see the Croatian contender back in action against the unbeaten Radonjic. Both men have perfect records, and I'm expecting an explosive heavyweight fight in Austria on 10th September."

Explosive? Perhaps. Competitive? Unlikely.

Filip Hrgovic's record and bio

Nationality: Croatian

Born: June 4, 1992

Height: 6ft 6ins

Reach: 82ins

Total fights: 12

Record: 12-0

Knockout percentage: 83%

Marko Radonjic's record and bio

Nationality: Montenegrin

Born: May 5, 1990

Total fights: 22

Record: 22-0

Knockout Percentage: 100%

Final thoughts…

Given the short odds available on a Hrgovic victory, it's difficult to imagine the hard-hitting heavyweight having too much trouble in picking up another win here - even if his opponent enters the ring with the confidence an unbeaten resume affords.

At around 1/25 odds on, little value can be found in backing a win for Hrgovic; however, with all 10 of his knockout victories coming inside the first five rounds (and seven of those inside three rounds), a quick night at the office looks a more than likely outcome for Hrgovic.

Now under the astute management of both Hearn and Sauerland, Hrgovic will be carefully managed, even if the former talks loudly about their fighter being the most avoided man in the division.

Whether that soundbite is a statement of fact or merely the marketing savvy of Hearn is debatable.

However, there should be little debate tonight with Hrgovic backed to quickly dispatch his over-matched opponent inside three rounds as he continues his rise up the heavyweight ranks.

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