Filip Hrgović (9-0, 7 KOs) steps up to face former World Title challenger Eric Molina (27-5, 19 KOs) as part of a colossal night of boxing at the Diriyah Arena in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7 featuring the Unified Heavyweight World Title rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
The Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, who will be defending his WBC International Title, has made a blistering start to his professional career, racing to nine wins from nine fights – with seven of those wins coming by knockout – since making his pro debut at the Arena Riga in September 2017.
Ranked in the top ten in the world with the WBC, WBA and IBF, the 27-year-old already finds himself being propositioned for a World Title shot having been matched aggressively from the very start of this career, landing the WBC ranking title with a sensational knockout win over Amir Mansour.
Molina, a two-time World Title challenger from Texas USA, has mixed it at the top of the Heavyweight division throughout his twelve-year career as a pro. His first World Title attempt came against WBC king Deontay Wilder in 2015 when he took ‘The Bronze Bomber’ nine rounds before succumbing to a stoppage loss.
A year later he travelled to the UK to face IBF ruler Joshua at Manchester Arena and was stopped in three rounds in what was ‘AJ’s’ maiden World Title defence. Fights against Terrell Jamal Woods and Dominic Breazeale followed in 2017 before Molina made his return in February earlier this year, outpointing Nick Guivas in Brownsville.
“I’m very honoured to be a part of this great event,” said Hrgović. “It is a big step up for me in terms of the level of opponent and also the size of the event.
“The whole world will be watching and this is a big opportunity for me to showcase my skills. I would like to thank my team Team Sauerland, Zeljko Karajica and Eddie Hearn for making this possible.
“I’m expecting a hard fight. Eric Molina has fought two times for the World title. He rocked Deontay Wilder in their fight and almost knocked him down. He is a very dangerous fighter with a lot of experience. This will be a big step up in competition and I am expecting the hardest fight of my career.
“From the beginning, we have started with very strong competition. I have told my promoter Team Sauerland that I am ready for anyone in the world and I have always wanted to fight the best so I’m excited for the challenge.
“Everything is perfect in training. I am getting stronger and better with every camp. Pedro Diaz is a great coach and I think we are a very good team. With every camp I see more and more of his knowledge and experience. I am very happy to be here training with him and I think he is bringing out the best in me.”
“I am beyond excited to be a part of this amazing boxing event in Saudi Arabia,” said Molina. “I am grateful to finally be back in the ring and I know exactly what this fight means. Eddie Hearn has given me more than enough time to be physically, mentally and spiritually ready for Hrgovic.”
Promoter Nisse Sauerland said: “Filip is the fastest rising star of the heavyweight division so it is fitting that he play a part in this massive night for heavyweight boxing. This is a huge opportunity with the whole world watching and a chance for him to further his World title claim with a win over Molina.”
Russian powerhouse Alexander Povetkin (35-2, 24 KOs) is also confirmed for the undercard as he returns from his August triumph over Hughie Fury to take on USA’s Heavyweight talent Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs) in an Eliminator for the WBA World Title.
Alongside former WBA Super-Bantamweight World Champion Scott Quigg (35-2-2, 26 KOs) who meets former IBF Super-Featherweight World Title challenger Jono Carroll (17-1-1, 3 KOs) for the WBA Inter-Continental title in an England vs. Ireland showdown at 126lbs.
“The world will stop on December 7 to watch Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 and now they have more mouth-watering action to whet the appetite,” said Eddie Hearn. “Povetkin vs. Hunter is a brilliant match up with both men looking for a crack at the World Heavyweight Title in 2020 and unbeaten Hrgović makes his first step up against World Title challenger Eric Molina.”