Filip Hrgovic Montana Love Added To Canelo-Bivol Undercard
The undercard for the upcoming Canelo Alvarez return to the ring has taken shape. This, as Matchroom Boxing and DAZN made official Monday that unbeaten Croatian Heavyweight Filip Hrgovic and unbeaten Jr.Lightweight Montana Love will be prominently featured.
Matchroom confirmed the two will be in action just before the planned May 7th battle between Alvarez and unbeaten Russian WBA World 175 lb. champ, Dimitry Bivol,
𝙁𝙄𝙂𝙃𝙏 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 🚨
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) March 21, 2022
From their release,
Montana Love and Gabriel Valenzuela will clash in a mouthwatering Super-Lightweight battle on the undercard for Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 7, live on DAZN, excluding Latin America and Mexico. In the U.S. & Canada, the event will be offered exclusively on DAZN Pay-Per View (PPV). Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, March 23.
Love (17-0-1, 9 KOs) will fight under the Matchroom banner for the second time and on back-to-back Las Vegas fights, having dispatched Carlos Diaz inside three rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in December. The Cleveland man is ranked #12 with the IBF and will look to crash into the top ten in style on The Strip but will need to be on his A-game against Valenzuela (25-2-1, 15 KOs).
“Nothing changes on May 7,” said Love. “He’s just another body in the way.”
Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) sits #3 in the IBF rankings and the giant Croatian has been hunting a dance partner for a showdown to name the mandatory challenger for the title held by Oleksandr Usyk. The 29-year-old Olympic bronze medalist has cut a lethal swathe through the pro ranks to sit in a prime position for a deserved shot at the big prize, ending all but two of his fights inside the distance, and not going past the fifth round in his last seven outings.
A host of Heavyweights were offered the clash with the dangerous Croat, but not until it came to #13 ranked Zhang (23-0-1, 18 KOs) was a dance partner found, with the lofty Chinese star accepting the challenge. The 38-year-old has been circling for a major showdown, and ‘Big Bang’ gets his wish against Hrgovic in Sin City with the two KO artist promising to leave it all in the ring with the stakes so high.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for more than year,” said Hrgović. “Finally, I have an opponent willing to face me for the chance to fight for the IBF World title. So many fighters turned down this challenge so credit to Zhang for being brave enough to accept.
“I know he’s a good opponent. He won silver at the Olympics so that means he’s a good boxer, but he is too slow on his feet, and I believe I have better the qualities. My speed, stamina and footwork will be too much for him. I will break him down and I will beat him.”
He was to have fought American top five IBF contender Michael Hunter this past Fall, but Hunter pulled out on the bout to get a more lucrative payday through Triller Fight Club. Instead, Hrgovic fought Emir Ahmatovic on the undercard of Devin Haney’s successful WBC Lightweight title defense over JoJo Diaz in December. Hrgovic destroyed Ahmatovic in under 3 rounds by TKO.
Hrgovic was trying to fight an amateur nemesis of his in France’s Tony Yoka. This after the unbeaten Yoka was to have taken on the Congo’s Martin Bakole in Paris back in January, but their fight was scrapped two weeks before its date due to Covid 19 concerns and limiting of attendance.
Since that bout was postponed, Yoka’s camp accepted the IBF’s written request to fight Hrgovic, as a replacement proposed showdown. Those two do have familiarity with each other from when Yoka defeated Hrgovic by close three round decision in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic semi- final of the Super Heavyweight division. Yoka, then went on to defeat England’s Joe Joyce in the Gold Medal fight five and half years ago.
Eventually, the IBF ordered Yoka to honor the agreement to fight Bakole and Hrgovic has now moved on to fight the Chinese Heavyweight Zhang on May 7th.