Former WBC cruiserweight title challenger Ilunga Makabu takes another step towards a higher world ranking tonight as the Congan battles Mussa Ajibu in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Makabu, who lost to Tony Bellew at Goodison Park in his 2016 green and gold challenge, got back to winning ways in April and is ready to take a second step to redemption at Rainbow Towers Conference Centre.
Manager Tarik Saadi has big plans for Makabu, who has switched trainers since the Bellew defeat, and believes an opportunity against Denis Lebedev would be ideal should a World Boxing Super Series reserve spot prove to be out of reach.
“We are not confirmed on WBSS reserve, but a few weeks ago we received a contact to spar WBC champion Mairis Briedis. We refused because we want to fight him for real,” Saadi exclusively told World Boxing News.
“We want Briedis 100% after he fights Perez and hope to be placed as a reserve to fight for the WBC title.”
Saadi also revealed an offer to feature on the undercard of Briedis v Perez.
“We received also a proposition to fight (confirmed WBSS reserve) Krzysztof Glowacki on the Briedis vs Perez bill at the end of September, but unfortunately we have a fight program,” he pointed out.
“After this fight, we would have no problem facing him at another date and place for a WBC silver or even in a WBC final eliminator. If his manager hears or read this, we are already for that fight.
“In regards to the tournament itself, it’s a very big boxing contest with some very hard fights, but I am sure we will see some surprising results coming soon.
“It’s a big idea and a very great work to all member of this WBSS who organized the competition. We are sad not to participate, but we wish the best to all the WBSS members and fighters involved.
“All I can say for now is Makabu is available for the WBSS reserves if he cannot get a shot at the title as we also are very interested in Lebedev.
“Team Lebedev know our position on a possible fight vs Makabu and we are available at anytime,” added Saadi.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay