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IBF Mandatory Challenger: Filip Hrgović

It wasn't until the age of 13 that Hrgović found his true calling when he started boxing at the Leonardo Boxing Club in Zagreb

IBF Heavyweight Mandatory Filip Hrgović

Born on June 4, 1992, in Zagreb, Croatia, Filip Hrgović is a Top Heavyweight who has rapidly risen through the heavyweight ranks. Standing at an imposing 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 meters) tall with a reach of 82 inches (208 cm), Hrgović is a formidable presence in the ring. He has earned several nicknames, including "Hrga," "El Animal," and "Stoneman."

Hrgović's journey into boxing was not an obvious one. In his youth, he faced weight issues and even earned the nickname "fatty." He initially tried other sports, such as basketball and swimming, but these pursuits were short-lived. It wasn't until the age of 13 that Hrgović found his true calling when he started boxing at the Leonardo Boxing Club in Zagreb, under the guidance of coach Leonardo Pijetraj.

Amateur Career Highlights

Hrgović's amateur career was marked by numerous achievements:

  1. AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships (2010): He won the gold medal in the super-heavyweight division, defeating future professional boxer Joseph Parker.
  2. 2015 European Amateur Boxing Championships: Hrgović secured the gold medal in the super-heavyweight category.
  3. 2016 Summer Olympics: Representing Croatia at the Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division. Notably, he faced Tony Yoka, a future rival, in a tight split decision bout.

Professional Career Beginnings

Filip Hrgović transitioned to the professional ranks on September 30, 2017, with a first-round stoppage victory over Raphael Zumbano of Brazil. He quickly made a name for himself with his impressive performances and signed with Sauerland Promotions.

In his early professional career, Hrgović faced notable opponents like Pavel Sour, Tom Little, and Amir Mansour. He showcased his power and technique by securing victories through knockouts and dominant decision wins.

Filip Hrgović and trainer Ronnie Sheilds

WBC International Champion

Hrgović's journey toward becoming a heavyweight world champion continued when he competed for the WBC International heavyweight title. Notably, he faced experienced American boxer Amir Mansour on September 8, 2018 and secured a technical knockout victory in the third round.

He successfully defended his WBC International title against opponents like Ytalo Perea and Gregory Corbin, continuing to build his reputation as an emerging force in the heavyweight division.

IBF International Champion

Hrgović's career took another significant step when he competed for the IBF International heavyweight title. On November 7, 2020, he faced Rydell Booker and secured a fifth-round knockout victory.

Recent Career and Mandatory Challenger Status

As of 2023, Hrgović holds the position of the #1 ranked IBF heavyweight contender. He's on the cusp of a world title shot, with the IBF ordering him as the mandatory challenger to face the Unified WBA, IBF, and WBO hHavyweight Champion, Oleksandr Usyk.

Hrgović's journey hasn't been without its challenges. His recent performances against Zhilei Zhang and Demsey McKean left some questions about his readiness for a world title shot.

Victory over Demsey McKean

The Road Ahead

Filip Hrgović's path to becoming a heavyweight world champion has been marked by notable achievements in both his amateur and professional careers. As he awaits his opportunity to challenge for a world title, Hrgović continues to refine his skills and build his legacy in the heavyweight division.

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