Filip Hrgovic, who claimed a super heavyweight bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, has signed with Team Sauerland, Germany's No. 1 promoter.
Hrgovic, 25, of Croatia, turned pro this past Saturday in Riga, Latvia, where he scored a first-round knockout of journeyman Raphael Zumbano Love (39-16-1, 31 KOs) on the undercard of the Team Sauerland-promoted card headlined by cruiserweight titlist Mairis Briedis' defense against Mike Perez in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series.
On Thursday, Team Sauerland's Kalle Sauerland announced the signing.
"We have been tracking Filip for the past seven years, so it is with great pleasure that we announce his signing today," Sauerland said. "Filip is a special talent and without a doubt the future of the heavyweight division. He has the potential to become a global star and I believe it is only a matter of time before he is world champion."
Hrgovic, who lost a split decision to eventual Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka, of France, at the Rio Games, won the European Amateur Championships in 2015 and also has participated in the World Series of Boxing, going 26-4. Also of note, he was sparring with former world titleholder David Haye and cut him, causing Haye's fight with Tyson Fury to be canceled in 2013.
Hrgovic said of his signing with Team Sauerland: "They are one of the best promoters in the business and have been for a long time. Team Sauerland have a big tradition in boxing and offered me good conditions to develop myself and to develop my skills.
"It is important to have a strong promoter behind you to guide your career. Team Sauerland have built a lot of world champions in the past. They know how to do their job, and together, I think we can make some big things happen. I had a very long and successful amateur career with many big achievements, but I think now is the right time for me to become a professional."
Hrgovic (1-0, 1 KO) is next scheduled to fight Pavel Sour (6-0, 5 KOs), 34, of the Czech Republic, in a six-round bout on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight quarterfinal between Juergen Braehmer and Rob Brant on Oct. 27 in Schwerin, Germany.
"I fought a very experienced guy in my first fight and I was satisfied with my performance," Hrgovic said. "I think I made a good introduction to the professional game. My goals are always big and I'm always looking for the biggest achievements, so winning the world heavyweight championship is now my No. 1 aim, and I believe I will achieve this one day.
"I'm really looking forward to fighting again. I had a big break between the Olympic Games and my professional career, so I can't wait to get back into the ring. I would like to fight as often as is possible."