Filip Hrgovic branded 'a bully' over Tokyo Olympics plans
Alen Babic: "He thinks everybody is afraid of him, but nobody is afraid of him"
Last Updated: 15/01/20 1:28pm
Filip Hrgovic's announcement that he may compete at the Tokyo 2020 Games has sparked a furious row as Alen Babic branded his fellow Croatian heavyweight as "a bully".
Hrgovic, who claimed a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games, is reportedly considering a return to the amateur ranks to qualify for this summer's Olympic boxing tournament, despite racking up 10 straight wins as a professional fighter.
But Babic has voiced his dismay at suggestions that compatriot Hrgovic could opt to avoid the first qualifying stage and still receive the chance to take an Olympic spot from Croatia's highest-ranked amateur, Marko Milun.
"Hrgovic is a big bully," Babic told Sky Sports. "He's just another bully in my country. I work as a doorman for 10 years and I know how to deal with bullies.
"Nobody had the guts to tell him, so I tell him and the whole public, and everybody stood up. You have two Olympic trials, two tournaments, and he wanted nobody to go to the first tournament, and he'll go to the second.
"We have another fighter who in the last four years won a medal in the European Championships, who has fought in the World Championships. He fought the best guys at amateur. Who is Hrgovic to tell him [Milun], 'You can't go anywhere'.
"You're fighting bums as a pro and he's fighting world-class heavyweights in the amateurs. He doesn't want to give him a chance. He thinks everybody is afraid of him, but nobody is afraid of him."
Babic has already traded punches with Hrgovic in the gym and would relish the chance to face him in the paid ranks.
The 29-year-old, who is managed by Dillian Whyte, hopes to return to Britain in the next few months after blasting his way to three stoppage wins.
"Of course, I would fight him [Hrgovic] tomorrow," said Babic.
"I work as a doorman and then I sparred him the day after. Every time after a night shift, I sparred with Hrgovic. Of course I will fight him.
"He said I'm just an ordinary doorman. What does that mean? He just wants to discredit me. I came up the tough way and he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I did it all by myself."