On Saturday February 6 in Baku, Azerbaijan, local favorite Fariz Mammadov, 18-2-1 (12), will take on Badru Lusambya, 24-2-2 (22), of Uganda for the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Welterweight title on a big show staged by promoters Nezir Agayev and Yashar Milnits.
A remarkable story, 35-year-old Southpaw Mammadov turned professional in 2001 as a Lightweight, and went 11-1-1 in the next three years, winning a couple of minor titles in 2004 before disappearing from the scene for seven and a half years.
In May of 2012 he amazingly returned to the ring at Welterweight, and put together three low-key victories before losing a WBO & IBF regional title fight to undefeated German contender Matthias Pelk, 20-0 at the time, in December of 2013.
After scoring a routine victory in March 2014, Mammadov secured a rematch with Pelk in Germany the following June, and relieved the home-fighter of his WBO European title, boxing wonderfully and winning by impressive fifth round stoppage.
He has since stayed busy with solid victories over Valentyn Kuts and Andrei Abramenka, lining up his first world championship opportunity. But in the hard-punching Badru “Mr. Crush” Lusambya, also a southpaw, he will be in for a very tough task.
Lusambya (33) entered the paid ranks in 2002, and captured the African Boxing Union Super Welterweight title in only his seventh outing in 2004. He made two successful defenses before relocating to the United Kingdom for a few years, but in 2009 he returned to the African continent and reclaimed the ABU crown.
Undefeated since 2010, Lasumbya will also be in his first shot at world glory, and is looking to join an impressive list of big names from Uganda who has won world titles, including Ayub Kalule, John Mugabi, Kassim Ouma, Cornelius Boza-Edwards and Godfrey Nyakana.