7 December 2019 – Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic has defended his WBC International Heavyweight belt after knocking out Eric Molina at ‘Clash On The Dunes’ at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
Fighting on the undercard of the unified World Heavyweight Championship fight between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua, Hrgovic came into the fight 9-0 with 7 KOs and was the pre-fight favourite.
The experienced Molina (27-5), who has already fought twice for the World Heavyweight title, facing both Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, was cautious from the opening bell and was forced to defend for most of the first round as Hrgovic held the dominant ring position.
Hrgovic’s first real attack came with seconds remaining in the opening round when he left fly with a series of overhand rights, followed by blows to the body which put Molina to the ground, but the bell would come to his rescue.
Hrgovic almost finished off the fight seconds into the second round with another big right hand which put Molina down but then the Mexican-American would come back and land a series of blows himself to the head of Hrgovic.
Hrgovic finally finished Molina off to record his 10th professional victory and 8th TKO in the third round when a big overhand right landed to the back of Molina’s head.
“I am very satisfied with my performance and respect to Molina as nobody wanted to fight me but he did,” he said before thanking his team and crowd. “I want to fight the biggest names in the division. That is my wish. I hope these guys accept a fight with this young guy from Croatia,” Hrgovic said after the win.
El Animal! 😤
Big win for @Filip_Hrgovic who blasts Molina away in the third round to retain his WBC International crown! 🙌
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 7, 2019
The 27-year-old Croatian, who won Bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, now has three knockout wins in three different countries in 2019 after beating Gregory Corbin and Mario Heredia in the United States and Mexico earlier this year.
This fight was the first real test for the Croatian heavyweight sensation known as ‘El Animal’, and he is now putting together an impressive resume which is putting him in good shape to one day fight for the World Title in boxing’s glamour division.
“Filip Hrgovic is one of the top young fighters coming through in the division right now. He was an outstanding amateur and he has great skills and a great team. I am delighted to be working with Team Sauerland,” promoter Eddie Hearn said during the week.