Top heavyweight prospect Filip Hrgovic and his team want to step up the competition soon, and promoter Nisse Sauerland has a few names in mind.
Sauerland picked out Martin Bakole, Zhilei Zhang, Sergey Kuzmin, and Michael Hunter as hopeful opponents when speaking with Sky Sports, and seemed to have particular interest in Bakole, saying an offer is out there:
“Bakole, at this stage of their careers, would be a great test for Filip and a great spectacle for the fans. Fighting Bakole would be the acid test. It is a fight that could be made. It’s a great fight. I know an offer has been made to Bakole. The question is how serious they are about fighting Filip.”
Croatia’s Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KO) has pretty much blown past “steps” like Amir Mansour, Kevin Johnson, Greg Corbin, Mario Heredia, Eric Molina, and Rydell Booker since 2018. Only Johnson went the distance, because of course Johnson went the distance.
I suppose on that note, it’s also worth saying that Bakole (16-1, 12 KO) is one of only three men to stop Johnson, doing so in 2019. (The others were Anthony Joshua and Petar Milas, for trivia.)
Hrgovic-Bakole would definitely be a nice fight to make, and as Sauerland says, it’s plenty doable if both sides actually want it. Nothing stands in the way politically or anything like that.
As for the other names, Zhang returns Feb. 27 against Jerry Forrest on the Canelo-Yildirim card, Kuzmin just lost to Bakole in December, and Hunter is sort of “at-large” in the division for the time being, beating a lousy opponent on Dec. 18 in Texas, his only fight of 2020.