Željko Mavrović[pronunciation?] (born 17 February 1969) is a Croatian former professional boxer. In 1998, as an undefeated challenger, he faced Lennox Lewis for the WBC heavyweight title, but lost in what would be his final fight. After retiring from boxing, Mavrović became an entrepreneur.
Mavrović was born in Zagreb, in the neighbourhood Srednjaci (which is the source of his nickname Šaka sa Srednjaka or Fist from Srednjaci).
As an amateur boxer, Mavrović was the Mediterranean champion in 1991 and Croatian champion in 1991 and 1992. Other Amateur accomplishments were:
Upon turning professional, he became the boxing champion of Europe (EBU) in 1995 and kept his title in 1996 and 1997 against seven opponents.
In 1998, he went up against Lennox Lewis for the world heavyweight champion title, but lost after twelve rounds on points. Although he was outclassed by Lewis in the fight, his daring performance pulled appreciative comments from boxing insiders. Lewis' manager Frank Maloney said that "Mavrović must have 240lb of steel in his chin" after the fight. Lewis described the fight as the most awkward win of his career, citing sauna-like conditions in the ring, as well as Mavrović's agility, motivation and preparedness.
Mavrović never fought again after this bout. In the next years he was a few times scheduled against quality opposition (like for example against Hasim Rahman in 1999 where his late replacement Oleg Maskaev then knocked Rahman out of the ring in a well remembered fight), but he always had to pull out due to injuries and he ultimately had to finish his career due to an undisclosed illness.
In December 2012 Mavrović announced his return to professional boxing. A match with Serbian Cruiserweight boxer Enad Ličina was scheduled for April 2013, but after breaking a rib during training just a few weeks before the scheduled match his return was first delayed and than canceled.
Mavrović served as a boxing director for the Croatian Boxing Federation during the 2014 European Youth Boxing Championships in Zagreb. He was quoted after the incident where Croatian boxer Vido Loncar assaulted and seriously injured a referee after a loss, excusing Loncar with the argument "I believe that he is not a butcher or as bad as this act makes him look. This was part of his excessive ambition in that moment". Loncar was subsequently banned from boxing for life.
His Golden Glove remains the biggest trophy in the history of Croatian heavyweight boxing, and he was named the Croatian sportsperson of the year twice. He was also distinctive for his Mohawk hairstyle, which led to a later nickname Irokez (Croatian for Iroquois).
|27 Wins (22 knockouts, 5 decisions), 1 Losses (0 knockouts, 1 decision)|
|Loss||27–1||Lennox Lewis||UD||12||26 September 1998||🇺🇸 United States||WBC World Heavyweight Title. 109–119, 112–117, 111–117|
|Win||27-0||Vincenzo Cantatore||TKO||4||18 October 1997||Vienna, Austria||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||26-0||Lajos Eros||TKO||5||12/07/1997||Kensington, London, UK||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||25-0||Julius Francis||TKO||8||15 February 1997||Vienna, Austria||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||24-0||Clifton Mitchell||TKO||2||02/11/1996||Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayern, Germany||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||23-0||Mark Anthony Wills||RTD||8||22 June 1996||Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany|
|Win||22–0||Christophe Bizot||UD||12||20 April 1996||Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||21-0||Przemyslaw Saleta||KO||1||09/12/1995||Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany||EBU Heavyweight Title. Saleta knocked out at 2:58 of the first round.|
|Win||20-0||Michael Murray||KO||4||14 October 1995||Munich, Bayern, Germany|
|Win||19–0||Ken Smith||KO||2||17 June 1995||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Smith knocked out at 2:55 of the second round.|
|Win||18–0||Christophe Bizot||TKO||11||11/04/1995||Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine, France||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||17-0||Mark Young||RTD||5||25 March 1995||Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany||Young could not answer the bell for round six.|
|Win||16–0||Nathaniel Fitch||KO||1||11/02/1995||Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany|
|Win||15–0||Oleg Savenko||KO||3||26 November 1994||Wuppertal, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany||German International Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||14-0||Marion Wilson||PTS||8||08/10/1994||Halle, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany|
|Win||13-0||Jerry Jones||PTS||10||17 September 1994||Leverkusen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany|
|Win||12–0||James Pritchard||UD||10||18 June 1994||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Win||11–0||Marshall Tillman||TKO||1||04/06/1994||Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany|
|Win||10-0||Jimmy Bills||KO||1||07/05/1994||Koblenz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany|
|Win||9-0||Mike Dixon||TKO||4||26 March 1994||Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany||Referee stopped the bout at 1:25 of the fourth round.|
|Win||8-0||Will Hinton||TKO||4||05/02/1994||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||7-0||Kimmuel Odum||PTS||8||11/12/1993||Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany|
|Win||6-0||David Bey||TKO||4||16 October 1993||Koblenz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany|
|Win||5-0||Marco van Spaendonck||TKO||1||18 September 1993||Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany||Referee stopped the bout at 1:37 of the first round.|
|Win||4–0||Webster Vinson||KO||2||07/08/1993||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||3-0||John Morton||KO||3||26 June 1993||Alsterdorf, Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||2-0||Chris Harbourne||TKO||1||01/05/1993||Berlin, Germany|
|Win||1-0||Bruno Podgorny||TKO||3||20 March 1993||Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany|
After retirement he went into agricultural business. He opened "Eko-centar Mavrović" in Sloboština near Požega where he produces his own line of eco-friendly food. After initial success his business fell into financial problems in the early 2010s.