After Olympic Games last year in Brazil, Hrvoje Sep decided to go pro. He confirmed this decision already some time ago, but now the interesting fact is that he is going to make his professional debut in the FFC ring this Saturday in Ljubljana, Slovenia!
Hrvoje will thus share the ring with MMA fighters and kickboxers bringing some real refreshment to the standard FFC format.
How did you start to cooperate with Final Fight Championship?
“We negotiated with a couple of different promotions and we weighed all the options from the very moment I decided to fight professionally. At FFC at the Zagreb Arena, Orsat Zovko told us that he is to make events in Las Vegas that also might include some boxing matches. He told me he would like us to be a part of it. Contract negotiations in boxing are often complicated and tedious, but from the moment Orsat mentioned this option, we decided to negotiate. He often organizes the events and I just wanted to box. We came to terms very easily.”
It’s been some eight months since you said you’d fight professionally. Did this process take too long? Did you hope you’d fight sooner?
“Yes, but there were many complications. We had a couple of offers and they are still on the table. We weighed it all and waited for the right moment because it had to be perfect. So I preferred to wait and to make it all right.”
When exactly did you agree to fight for the FFC and did you have enough time to prepare ahead of this big step in your career?
“I had more than enough time. I train all the time and I started to prepare for this match this spring. I found out that I’m to fight a month ago and that is enough time because I was ready anyway. We just had to put a finishing touch to it.”
What can you tell us about this match?
“This match is set for six rounds. Professional boxing matches are usually set for 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 rounds. But these matches set for 10 and 12 rounds are usually title bouts or eliminator bouts.”
Did you change the approach while preparing since this will be your professional debut?
“There are no special preps in boxing. I work with my coach Leonard Pijetraj all the time. Olympic matches are set for three rounds so we do specific and high intensity drills to prepare. Of course, now that I’m to fight more rounds my trainings also became longer and intensity is lower. Boxing is specific because the rhythm changes and that’s what we work on a lot. Sometimes it’s intensive, sometimes not so much.”
Will you fight in the same division?
“I will remain in light heavyweight. That’s -79,4 in professional boxing which is only 1,6 kg below 81. But the weigh-in is a day before the match and that suits me perfectly. I won’t have any problems cutting the weight. I have to drop some 4 kg. I used to drop much more, but now we try to stick to this more natural and healthy diet and that’s why our bodies are more used to this certain kind of training. I don’t weight much more off season. In our gym, we’re not into extremes and dropping too much weight.”
Are you an exception? Or are there some other boxers in BK Leonardo that plan to fight professionally soon?
“There were some indications, but I cannot say more about it. I can just say that FFC is a great organization and boxers could put a refreshing touch to it and make a great show.”
This event in Ljubljana will be packed with excellent kickboxers and MMA fighters. Did you ever think about trying out those sports or is boxing your first and only passion?
“Before I started boxing, I trained kickboxing and I even competed. I also trained jiu-jitsu for a couple of years and won a couple of medals at tournaments. But am I interested in kickboxing and MMA now? The answer is no. I think if you’re tenacious enough and if you have the right people with you, as I have my coach who is a great expert, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving results. I think people are wrong having other options in case they don’t succeed in their sport. I don’t need any other options and there are no other options for me. I want to be a boxing champ and that’s the only thing I’m interested in.”
In which part of the FFC 29 are you going to fight?
“As far as I know, between MMA and kickboxing parts of the event.”
“Boxing is a sport in which you can finish your opponent before the final bell and that’s my goal. I fought in Olympic boxing where you severely pay for your mistakes. Sometimes the pointing system is not realistic either. That’s not only the case for the Olympic Games but also when it comes to different championships and tournaments. But professional boxing is different. There are more rounds and you get a better picture. I definitely want to KO my opponent as soon as possible but that does not mean I will rush. But as soon as I feel the opportunity is there, I will seize it.”