Filip Hrgović (5-0, 4 KOs) will face his biggest test on September 8 when he meets Scotland’s Gary Cornish (25-2, 13 KOs) for the WBC International Heavyweight Championship at the Arena Zagreb in Croatia.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Bronze Medallist has raced to 5-0 since turning pro in September 2017with victories over Raphael Zumbano (TKO1), Pavel Sour (KO1), Tom Little (TKO4), Sean Turner (UD8) and Filiberto Tovar (TKO4).
The 26 year-old from Zagreb, who is currently in Miami training with renowned Cuban coach Pedro Diaz ahead of his hotly anticipated hometown debut, will now fight for his first major title with WBC’s International belt on the line.
Standing at 201cm, Cornish, the former IBO Intercontinental Champion from Iverness, will be the tallest opponent Hrgović has faced in the professional ranks. The ‘Highlander’ has also enjoyed considerable success against Croatian boxers having previously recorded knockout wins over Jakov Gospic, Ivica Perkovic, Hrvoje Kisicek and Marino Goles.
“It will be a great honour to fight for the WBC International Heavyweight title in front of my home fans in Zagreb,” said Hrgović. “Gary Cornish has had a very good career so far, fighting experienced boxers. As with all my opponents, I have a lot of respect for him, and being Scottish I am sure he will be a great warrior as all his fellow countrymen.
“He will be the tallest opponent I have faced and that will be a new style and a new challenge that I will have to unlock, but if you want to be a World Champion one day, you have to face fighters with all different styles and calibres.
“I believe it will be a tough fight between two true warriors that are willing to give their all. Heavyweight boxing is special, as you can’t predict what will happen. The only thing I can assure the fans is that I will be 120% ready to show my best boxing on September 8.”
Despite travelling away from home, the 31 year-old Cornish says he is confident of upsetting the local fighter and claiming another Croatian scalp at the Arena Zagreb.
"I was in Germany sparring with Kubrat Pulev when I first came across Hrgović,” he says. “I sat down and watched him spar and he seems a good fighter but I’m going to beat him.
"I don’t mind fighting in his hometown and in a hostile atmosphere. I will just block it out and focus on the job in hand. I’ve faced four Croatians before and stopped all of them so I’m confident going over to his back yard.
"I’m back with my old coach and I feel better than I ever have. It’s a good fight for me to take because it’s risk and reward. It’s a big risk because he’s so highly rated but there’s the huge reward of taking his ranking when I beat him."