By Jake Donovan
Less than two years into his pro career, Filip Hrgovi? is already making big moves.
The 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist and currently unbeaten rising heavyweight from Croatia has entered—along with promoter Team Sauerland—a co-promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, it was announced Thursday.
Exact terms weren’t specified but does call for all future bouts involving the 26-year old heavyweight to air exclusively on DAZN USA and United Kingdom’s Sky Sports. BoxingScene.com has learned that the first fight under the new deal will kick off in May, doubling as the heavyweight's United States debut.
“I am very happy and honored that my promoter Team Sauerland will be working with Matchroom Boxing, DAZN and Sky Sports to deliver me big fights as I continue my World title quest,” said Hrgovi? (7-0, 5KOs). “This will be great for my career and proves I am one of the best prospects in the business.”
Hrgovi? turned pro in Sept. ’17 following a decorated amateur, amassing a 75-14 record along with a 2010 Youth World Championship, 2015 European Championship and a Bronze medal during the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 6’6” heavyweight has made an immediate impact in the pro ranks, matched aggressively from his debut to where he’s zoomed past the prospect stage and is already considered a rising contender.
Given his rapid ascension, the team felt it was necessary to bring aboard additional firepower to properly expand his horizons.
“Heavyweight boxing is currently enjoying a huge resurgence and we believe Filip Hrgovi? is the most exciting up and coming fighter in the division,” said Nisse Sauerland. “We’re delighted to be working with Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports, with whom we have always enjoyed an excellent relationship, and DAZN, who are doing great things for boxing, and plotting a route forward that will take Filip to the top of the heavyweight pile.”
A pair of homecoming bouts to close out 2018 already showed his potential as a viable contender. Hrgovi? fought in Croatia for the first time last September after having spent his first five fights in Latvia and Germany.
The trip home also doubled as what was meant to be his toughest assignment to date, instead becoming arguably his best win yet in tearing through the normally durable Amir Mansour inside of three rounds. Three months later came an eight-round shutout of veteran gatekeeper Kevin Johnson.
With seven fights against accelerated competition crammed into a 15-month schedule, the team decided to slow things down just a touch in determining the best course of action for 2019 and beyond. That’s when the decision was made to bring Hearn into the fold.
“I’m excited to team up with Team Sauerland to work on an exceptional young heavyweight in Filip Hrgovi?,” said Hearn. “Everyone in the sport knows what a threat this man is and he is already willing to jump in big fights at such an early stage in his career. Fans will get to watch Filip all over in the World competing in all major fight cities – don’t blink!”
The timing of planned May trek to the U.S. couldn’t be better, as it will provide him with the opportunity to showcase his brand in front of a new audience mere weeks ahead of the June 1 clash between unbeaten, unified titlist Anthony Joshua and undefeated challenger Jarrell Miller. Both events will air live on DAZN, not at all lost on Hrgovi? who will undoubtedly scout the fight with every intention of wanting to challenge the winner.
“My goal is to become World Champion and to hold all the belts in the Heavyweight division,” insists Hrgovi?. “I know to be the best, I will have to beat the best, and as I have proven so far in my professional career, I am willing to fight any Heavyweight out there.
“I look forward to being involved in huge fights all around the World and showing boxing fans what Filip Hrgovi? can do!”