If he beats Eric Molina in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, which he expects to do, Filip Hrgovic has drawn up a list of fighters he wants to face next year. He plans on beating them all before going onto a world title in 2021. The 27-year-old is the type of fighter that exudes confidence.
“I would like to fight with Derek Chisora,” Hrgovic said. “And I would like to fight all the big names, like Dillian Whyte, Povetkin, Parker, Baby Miller, all these guys.
“Chisora ia a big name, a tough guy, he can give me a good test, he is a good fight for me at this stage of my career before challenging for a world title.
“I’m ready to clean these guys up. I am 100 per cent sure I can beat them …easy.”
After nine fights, the 6ft 7in Hrgovic is already starting the make a big name for himself as a professional, having been a feared amateur.
One name stands out on his “to do” list more than any other, though, Tony Yoka, although he is willing to wait for that fight to happen.
Yoka won a hotly-disputed decision over Hrgovic in the super-heavyweight semi-final at the Rio Olympics in 2016, the first of two questionable verdicts the Frenchman received as he also won a contested points decision over Joe Joyce in the final.
“We have a time for that revenge,” Hrgovic said. “Right now me and Tony Yoka are at the beginning of our careers and it would be a pity to ruin his zero in his record. I think that fight will come later when me and him establish ourselves in the division.
“If I came from a different country, I would be an Olympic gold medallist. But Croatia is a small country and no one cares about us. It happened a lot in my career, I got robbed. With small countries in amateur boxing it is like that.
“But God gives you always what you are ready for. God gave me the bronze medal and maybe at that time I wasn’t ready for the gold medal. All things happen with reason in life. When you see like one way it is bad, but in one way it is good. I have a lot of desire right now, I am hungry, I train like no other heavyweight. Tony Yoka is not hungry like me.”
Croatia may be a small and young country, but it is not without its boxing past, with Mate Parlov, the WBC light-heavyweight champion of the 1970s and Zeljko Mavrovic, who went the distance with Lennox Lewis for the world heavyweight title.
“Mate Parlov won everything you can win in boxing,” Hrgovic said. “As an amateur he was European champion, world champion and Olympic gold medallist and as a professional he was European champion and world champion. I never met him, he died in 2008. He is a legend.
“Zelko Mavrovic, who gave Lennox Lewis one of the toughest fights of his career, is my friend. We are in contact and he is working with the national federation of Croatia. We don’t have such a big history in boxing but we have our heroes.”
The dream of Hrgovic is not only to win a world title but to bring it home.
“We have a beautiful venue in Split, of the football team Hajduk,” Hrgovic said. “My dream is to defend world title one time there. That is what we are working for. It’s a beautiful city.”