Filip Hrgovic hasn’t overlooked Demsey McKean, but the unbeaten Croatian contender can’t envision any way that he’ll lose their high-stakes heavyweight fight to the Australian southpaw.

Oddsmakers have installed Hrgovic as an 8-1 favorite to beat McKean in their 12-round IBF elimination match on the Anthony Joshua-Robert Helenius undercard Saturday night at O2 Arena in London. Unless their bout results in a draw or no-contest, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Hrgovic or the 6-foot-6, 250-pound McKean will become the IBF’s mandatory challenger for its heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, the Ukrainian southpaw who will defend his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts against England’s Daniel Dubois on August 26 in Wroclaw, Poland.  

“You know, in boxing and in life anything is possible,” Hrgovic said during a press conference Wednesday in London. “But I don’t see how he gonna beat me. He had, you know, 22 fights before, but I don’t see anything special in his game. And like I said before, one thing is confidence and another thing is to be delusional.”

McKean, 32, has beaten mostly pedestrian opposition on his way to 22-0, including 14 knockouts. Hrgovic, 31, is clearly the most dangerous opponent McKean has agreed to face, but the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist hasn’t boxed since his debatable 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Zhilei Zhang last August 20 at Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

China’s Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs), who produced a first-round knockdown versus Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs), lost their closely contested bout by scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113. Zhang, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist, stopped previously unbeaten British knockout artist Joe Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs) in the sixth round of his subsequent bout, which took place April 15 at Copper Box Arena in London.

“I’m glad that fight with Zhang happened,” Hrgovic said. “I didn’t look very well. But like I said, I’m glad. I know it’s not my best game. It was my worst night and even on my worst night I beat a good fighter. You saw what he did to Joe Joyce, so Zhang proved that he’s a really top 10 heavyweight. And on my worst night, I beat him.

“That’s good that I had like a bad performance, that people can watch that fight and underestimate me in the future. So, it’s not so bad, you know? I know I can do much better and I didn’t take this fight lightly with Demsey. I trained very hard and I’m ready for anything.”

DAZN will stream the bout between Hrgovic, the IBF’s number one contender, and the 13th-rated McKean as part of undercard coverage set to start at 7 p.m. BST in the United Kingdom and 2 p.m. EDT in the United States.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.