By Dan Ambrose: 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic (10-0, 8 KOs) stopped former two time world title challenger Eric Molina (27-6, 19 KOs) in the 3rd round on Saturday night at the Diriyah Arena, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:03 of round 3. Molina was also knocked down in round 2 by a left to the body by Hrgovic.
Hrgovic dropped Molina with rabbit punch in 3rd
Hrgovic, 27, landed a hard right hand to the back of Molina’s head in the 3rd round that sent him down. The referee Ian John Lewis then stopped the bout.
The 37-year-old Molina looked hurt, and holding the back of his head to indicate that Hrgovic had hit him with a rabbit punch. On replay, there’s no question the punch was to the back of Molina’s head. However, the referee either didn’t see it or he was fine with.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only punch to the back of the head Hrgovic landed in the fight. he landed a number of them. It’s unclear why Hrgovics kept hitting Molina to the back of his head, because he wasn’t dipping that bad, as some believe.
- Hrgovic showed excellent power, and good accuracy with his shots. He looked like a less skilled version of Vitali Klitschko. Former WBC heavyweight champion Klitschko had a lot more to his game than Hrgovic, and a better defensive fighter as well.
- Nice left hand on occasion
- Stayed calm
- good chin
- Easy to hit
- Defensive skills lacking
- A lot of rabbit punching
- Mainly used right hand
- Robotic fighting style
- Slow hand speed
- No head movement at all
Hrgovic needs a lot of work to fix flaws in his game
Off of this performance, Hrgovic showed the power, size and skills that would enable him to beat a lot of heavyweights in the division. However, he’s too wide open to power shots, and he would have a lot of problems against the upper level heavyweights. Hrgovic is ranked WBA #9, IBF #9, WBC #11.
If he can get a victory over a good name, he could be pushed up the rankings with the sanctioning bodies. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn needs to be careful who he puts Hrgovic in with, because he’s so easy to hit. If Hrgovic were to fight a knockout artist like Deontay Wilder, it would be bad news potentially for him.
Hrgovic might even struggle against some of the fringe level heavyweights like Dereck Chisora, Otto Wallin, Michael Hunter and Sergey Kuzmin. Hrgovic doesn’t look as good as Daniel Dubois. It would be interesting to see how Hrgovic does against Chisora and Dillian Whyte.
If Hrgovic starts hitting Chisora with rabbit punches, you have to believe that he’ll respond in kind, and we could have a fouling war. That would be a real mess, If Hrgovic does fight Chisora, hopefully he straightens his punches out, and avoids hitting him to the back of his head.
Hrgovic calls out Chisora
“Chisora would be perfect for me,” said Hrgovic to PepTalkUK. “I think I can compete with everyone when I put my best performance. Of course, I think I need a few more big fights, guys like Dereck Chisora, Dillian Whyte or Povetkin. Someone like that.
“He’s [Chisora] got great name, good style, and a tough boxer. He could give me good rounds. I would like to fight with him. Come on, man. Accept the fight. I’m a young boy from Croatia,” said Hrgovic in sending a message to Chisora. “I’m not so dangerous how I look. Everything will be good. Don’t be afraid,” said Hrgovic.
Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) is about to turn 36-years-old this month on December 29, and he’s not likely going to want to take a fight with Hrgovic. There’s no money in that fight due to Hrgovic not being a big star. Chisora is trying to maximize the time left in his career by looking to face Oleksandr Usyk to put him in position to fight for a world title. If Chisora beats Usyk, he would be the mandatory with the WBO, and that gives him a chance to earn a world title fight against Joshua.
Molina taken out faster by Hrgovic than Joshua and Wilder
“I’m happy with my biggest victory,” said Hrgovic about his win over Molina. “So far in my career everything is good. It was good. I finished him [Molina] in the third round. Joshua finished him in 4, Wilder in the 9th. So I am happy that I done this before. I think it was good night for me.
“I think I sent a good message. I have a few flaws. It was the biggest event I boxed. I never boxed in such a big event. Yes, I think my performance was very good, and if I correct my flaws, I’ll be a better fighter after this,” said Hrgovic.
It’s true that Hrgovic stopped Molina faster than Joshua and Wilder, but he was fighting a much older fighter than they did. Wilder fought Molina 4 years ago when he was 33-year-old. For his part, Joshua fought Molina when he was 34.
Hearn sees bright future for Hrgovic
“His future is so bright. He’s young, he’s an outstanding fighter, and his profile this year has gone like that,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn about Hrgovic.
Hearn has a deep stable of heavyweights with Matchroom Boxing. He should look to match Hrgovic against Michael Hunter or Joseph Parker. Those two would test out Hrgovic’s chin to see if he can take a good shot. Parker would be tough. Hunter might be too small.