Heavyweight Filip Hrgovic and welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov, both 2016 Olympic medalists and among boxing’s top prospects, were added on Monday to Matchroom Boxing’s April 17 card at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Their scheduled 10-round bouts will be on the DAZN show headlined by the fight between former junior welterweight world titleholders Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker.
Hrgovic (10-0, 8 KOs), 27, who took home a bronze medal for Croatia at the Rio Games, will take on Jerry Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs), 31, of Lafayette, Louisiana.
“Jerry Forrest is a good boxer. He is a southpaw with a good record, and I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’m confident I will beat him,” Hrgovic said. “2019 was a great year for me. I fought in America, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. I had three fights against three strong opponents and got three knockouts wins. This year will be even better. My goal has always been to become world champion, and I’m now closing in on that goal. I’m coming for belts.”
Hrgovic has been quite impressive since turning pro in September 2017 and is coming off a third-round thrashing of former world title challenger Eric Molina on Dec. 7 on the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. II undercard in Saudi Arabia. Molina also lasted three rounds in a world title fight against Joshua in 2016 and nine rounds challenging then-world titlist Deontay Wilder in 2015.
The fight will be Hrgovic’s second in the United States. He also fought at MGM National Harbor last May and scored a quick knockout victory.
“I have good memories from fighting at the MGM National Harbor,” Hrgovic said. “This is where I made my American debut when I knocked out Gregory Corbin in the first round, and I’ve been training hard to give the fans another exciting performance on April 17.”
Forrest was scheduled to fight former unified cruiserweight world titlist Murat Gassiev in his heavyweight debut on Feb. 29 on the Mikey Garcia-Jessie Vargas undercard in Frisco, Texas, but Gassiev withdrew from the bout two weeks beforehand. Forrest suffered his only loss by 10-round split decision to unbeaten prospect Jermaine Franklin in July and has won his only bout since.
Kazakhstan’s Yeleussinov (9-0, 5 KOs), 28, won a gold medal in Rio. He will face by far his most notable opponent in former unified junior welterweight world titlist Julius Indongo (23-2, 12 KOs), 37, of Namibia.
“This is the most important fight of my career,” Yeleussinov said. “I had a great end to the year, and I feel I am building real momentum in the pro game now, but this is a big leap in quality of opponent. Julius is a former unified world champion and has huge experience at the very top level, so I will need to put on a career-best performance to keep my run going.”
Indongo won a junior welterweight belt on the road in Russia in 2016 when he knocked out Eduard Troyanovsky in stunning fashion in the first round. Then he unified two belts by outpointing Ricky Burns, again on the road in Scotland, in his next fight in April 2017. Four months later, Indongo traveled to Terence Crawford’s home area of Lincoln, Nebraska, and got knocked out in the third round in a fight for the undisputed 140-pound crown.
In his next fight, Indongo’s only one of 2018, he got knocked out in the second round by Prograis, but he bounced back with a win last August.
“This is a big night in the careers of Filip Hrgovic and Daniyar Yeleussinov,” Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn said. “Filip is a big problem for the heavyweight division. [He] is gaining valuable experience with every camp and fight, and all eyes will be on the 27-year-old in Maryland as he looks to make another statement in boxing’s glamour division.
“Daniyar is really growing in the paid ranks and has been impressive in his recent outings, but Julius Indongo is a big step up for the ‘Kazakh Thunder.’ The former unified world champion will look to carry his power up to 147l pounds, so Daniyar will be under pressure to both impress again and stave off the attack of the dangerous Indongo.”