Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) faces a motivated Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs) next week in their 12-round heavyweight fight live on DAZN PPV.

Promoter Eddie Hearn predicts a knockout win for the 2016 Olympian Hrgovic over Dubois in their clash at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. If Hrgovic’s rabbit punching is on point, Hearn could be right because he’s lethal with those illegal punches.

You can argue that Hrgovic is the best in the business with those rabbit shots, and if the referee turns a blind eye, as we saw in Filip’s last fight against Mark De Mori, he could quickly finish off Dubois with those shots.

If the referee is doing his job, Hrgovic could be in for a long night because if you take the rabbit shots away from him, he’s an average fringe-level heavyweight. He doesn’t have Dubois’s speed, power, youth, or athleticism, and he won’t last long against this type of fighter.

Dubois’s Strengths and the IBF Title Question

It’s still unclear if the IBF title will be at stake for the Hrgovic-Dubois fight. Hearn questions whether the IBF will quickly decide whether to strip undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in time for the Hrgovic vs. Dubois fight next Saturday.

There will be a huge backlash if the IBF strips Usyk because fans want to see the four belts at stake for his rematch with Tyson Fury.

Hearn hopes the IBF title will be because that gives his fighter, Hrgovic, a chance to potentially win the strap and then face Anthony Joshua in his next match. Matchroom would promote both fighters. It would be an in-house fight.

It’s not a big deal in Joshua’s situation. Even if the IBF title isn’t available for the winner of the Hrgovic vs. Dubois contest, he will get a chance to win all four titles when he faces the winner of the Fury-Usyk 2 rematch.

The only difference is Joshua would be going into that fight as the challenger and not the IBF champion.

Fans don’t care. Hearn is likely thinking that Joshua should be the IBF champion when he faces the Fury vs. Usyk II winner because that will help negotiations. Joshua’s status as a world champion rather than a challenger matters in terms of the money he’ll make.

Joshua is so rich that I don’t think it matters, but it does with Hearn. A little more green for AJ and Matchroom’s side for a fight against the Fury-Usyk II winner.

Hearn’s Confidence in Hrgovic

“I think Hrgovic is a big favorite in the fight, I really do. I see a different kind of Hrgovic than others see in terms of I think this guy is an elite heavyweight,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing, talking about next week’s fight between Filip Hrgovic and Daniel Dubois on June 1st.

“He [Hrgovic] has been for a long time. He just hasn’t been in the kind of fights to really show it. Now, has time passed you by where you’ve missed your prime? I don’t think so. He’s bang in his prime now,” said Hearn about Hrgovic, who turns 32 on June 4th and has only notable win on his seven-year professional resume, a controversial 12-round decision against Zhilei Zhang.

Since turning professional, Hrgovic has only fought one notable opponent: Zhang. Most boxing fans had Hrgovic lose that fight, but the judges gave him a controversial decision.

I watched the fight and had Zhang winning 9-3, but I wasn’t surprised that Hrgovic got the decision because he was the A-side going in. He’s promoted by Hearn and he had everything going for him, but in terms of who actually won the fight, it was easy. Zhang dominated. Hrgovic is a basic fighter once you take away his rabbit punching, and Zhang was too tall to be hit by those shots.

“This is a tough fight against Dubois, who you talk about confidence; he’ll be feeling confident after [stopping] Jarrell Miller [ in the tenth round on December 23 in Riyadh],” said Hearn about Hrgovic.

“Jarrell Miller is not Filip Hrgovic, so let’s make one thing clear: What he is is a big man who will test your heart, and for once in that department, Daniel will tick the box, and that will give him a lot of confidence going in.”

Well in some ways, Jarrell Miller is a better fighter than Hrgovic. He throws more punches, has a way better engine, and he keeps it clean. Dubois showed a lot of heart with his win over Miller, and if he can beat that guy, he’s got a good chance against Hrgovic, provided he doesn’t get snowed under by rabbit shots to the back of the head.

“This is a different type of fight. I don’t think he’ll [Dubois] have to show heart in this fight,” said Hearn. “He’ll have to show ability; he’ll have to show chin because Hrgovic is a sharpshooter, particularly early in the fight.

“A lot of people look at the Hrgovic-Zhang fight. Zhang is a tough night for anybody, and also Hrgovic’s father passed away. He wasn’t really himself going into that fight. He’s firing on all cylinders, and I think he knocks Daniel Dubois out,” said Hearn.

Hrgovic had problems with Zhang because he struggled with his power, and he couldn’t take him out with shots to the back of the head. Hrgovic likely would have lost that fight if better judges had been working.

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