The delayed IBF heavyweight title elimination fight between Filip Hrgovic and Zhang Zhilei will be added to the undercard of the rematch between unified heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Usyk and former two-time titlist Anthony Joshua, multiple sources told Big Fight Weekend.
The Matchroom Boxing card is scheduled for Aug. 20 at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The venue, which has hosted boxing, WWE and other sports events, was formally announced on Wednesday along with ticket information.
The Hrgovic-Zhang winner will be one of the mandatory challengers for the winner of the main event. The eliminator had previously been scheduled to take place on the undercard of WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol’s defense against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, Hrgovic withdrew due to the death of his father leading up to the bout and Zhang instead faced short-notice opponent Scott Alexander and knocked him out in the first round.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pound “El Animal” Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs), 30, who was a 2016 Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist for Croatia, is coming off a third-round knockout of Emir Ahmatovic in December 2021 on the Devin Haney-Joseph Diaz Jr. undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The 6-6, 275-pound Zhang (24-0-1, 19 KOs), 39, a 2008 Chinese Olympic silver medalist, who lost to Joshua in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals, has won two fights in a row since a majority draw with fringe contender Jerry Forrest in February 2022 in a fight in which Zhang knocked Forrest down three times.
Hrgovic-Zhang came together only after several others ranked ahead of Zhang in the IBF rankings turned down the fight or were unavailable to face Hrgovic in the title eliminator, including Luis Ortiz, Joseph Parker, Tony Yoka, Joe Joyce, Agit Kabayel, Andy Ruiz Jr., Murat Gassiev and Demsey McKean.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who co-promotes Hrgovic with Wasserman Boxing, and promotes Zhang, gained the promotional rights to the bout when he won a purse bid for with an offer of $650,000. It beat the only other offer of $410,000 made by ProBox Promotions.
Hrgovic is entitled to 60 percent ($390,000) and Zhang ($260,000) gets 40 percent.