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Filip Hrgovic vs. Martin Bakole could be in the making

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By Kenneth Friedman: Trainer/manager Billy Nelson says a fight between his fighter heavyweight Martin Bakole (15-1, 12 KOs) and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic (10-0, 8 KOs) is expected to be happening. Nelson is pretty excited about the potential fight between these two big heavyweight.

Hrgovic is signed with Matchroom Boxing, and his promoter Eddie Hearn has high hopes for him. Hearn doesn’t mention him a lot though when he talks his heavyweights. Perhaps it’s too soon for Hearn to start pushing Hrgovic in a big way, but that could change rapidly if he beats Bakole in 2020.

Will Hearn let Hrgovic test himself?

Is it too soon for Hrgovic to be fighting a guy like Bakole? That’s a question that his trainer/manager Nelson and Hearn will need to answer. Hrgovic is well behind the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua’s pace after he turned professional in 2013. Hearn can’t hold Hrgovic back forever.

At some point, Hearn has got to find out if Hrgovic has the talent to mix it with the best. As an amateur, Hrgovic struggled and lost when he fought good competition like Tony Yoka and Roberto Cammarelle. However, those fights took place years ago, and Hrgovic presumably has improved since then. If not, then Hrgovic won’t progress beyond a certain level, which is fine.

Hearn has a number good heavyweights that aren’t capable of winning world titles. Hrgovic would fit into that category if he’s unable to beat the likes of Bakole.

After just 3 years as a pro, Joshua captured his first world heavyweight title with a 2nd round knockout of IBF champion Charles Martin in April 2016. Hearn believed that Joshua was ready to fight the best this early stage in his career.  Joshua was 26 at the time he fought Martin. Hrgovic is a little bit older than where Joshua was at, so he should in theory be ready to step it up.

Martin Bakole = dangerous opponent for Hrgovic

Bakole has the power, size and the chin to show whether Hrgovic has the talent to compete in the upper tier of the division. We know that the 6’6″ Croation heavyweight Hrgovic can beat journeyman level fighters and older guys, but he’s not yet proven that he can compete against better fighters.

Bakole has lost once as a pro in running out of gas in a 10th round stoppage loss to Michael Hunter in October 2018. However, Bakole injured his right shoulder in that fight, and it may have had an affect on his performance that night.

Hrgovic can punch, but a lot of punches land to the back of his opponent’s heads for some reason.

In the amateur ranks, Hrgovic performed well, but he lost when he met up with these super heavyweights:

  • Tony Yoka
  • Ivan Dychko
  • Roberto Cammarelle

Bakole a BIG step up for Hrgovic

The hard hitting Bakole would be a vast improvement over the opposition that the 6’6″ Hrgovic has been matched against since he turned professional in three year career in the pro ranks.

Recently, Hrgovic defeated former 2-time heavyweight world title challenger Eric Molina by a 3rd round knockout on December 7 on the undercard of Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Hrgovic has recent wins over these fighters:

  • Eric Molina
  • Mario Heredia
  • Gregory Corbin
  • Kevin Johnson
  • Amir Mansour
  • Sean Turner
  • Tom Little


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