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Heavyweight juggernaut chasing Tyson Fury ready for KO battle

A highly-rated WBC contender chasing a shot at heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will hope to battle his lead sparring partner after this summer.

Russian heavyweight juggernaut and knockout artist Arslanbek Makhmudov takes on Raphael Akpejiori in a semi-final setting up a showdown with Jared Anderson.

Both must be successful in their respective bouts on June 10.

Makhmudov features In the ten-round co-feature to Anderson as the Montreal-based wrecking ball charges at the Nigerian.

The Makhmudov-Akpejiori clash sees two undefeated boxers with 90% KO ratios round out a doubleheader, with the semi-finals seeing a combined record of 64 wins and 61 stoppages.

Heavyweight semi-finals

Anderson has trained with Fury several times and has his hands full with Zhan Kossobutskiy. The show will be live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KOs) made his professional debut in December 2017 by knocking out Jaime Barajas in the first round.

He secured five additional first-round stoppages in his first seven fights, and 2019, he became the first fighter to knock out tough-as-nails veteran Jonnie Rice.

Later that year, he knocked out former world champion Samuel Peter in the first round, starting a series of four consecutive first-round knockouts.

In September 2022, Makhmudov went the distance for the first time against former world title challenger Carlos Takam.

In his recent bout, he stopped Michael Wallisch in only one round in December. The 6’5, 265-pound powerhouse is set to face the tallest opponent of his career.

Makhmudov vs Akpejiori

Makhmudov said: “Fighting for the first time in the United States, the Mecca of boxing, represents a significant opportunity for me.#

“Fighting in the US not only because it will give me a chance to showcase my talent on the world stage but also because it brings me one step closer to my dream of becoming a world champion.

“I’ve been dedicating my life to boxing, putting in all the hard work and sacrifices for this moment. I’m ready.

“I want to fight the best, and I’m ready to give a great show to boxing fans worldwide.”

In Akpejiori [15-0, 14 KOs], “The Lion” won’t have things easy either. The Nigerian stands at 6’8′ and weighs 260 pounds. He casts an intimidating presence.

A former collegiate basketball and football player for the University of Miami, he is a fistic natural.

He’s stopped ten opponents in the first round and another four in the second round.

In June 2022, the 32-year-old went the eight-round distance for the first time in his career against veteran Terrell Jamal Woods.

In his most recent fight, Akpejiori scored a first-round knockout against Dell Long in January.

Akpejiori will have a nearly three-inch height advantage over his opponent.

“I do not expect this to be an easy fight, but I have prepared for this moment for a long time. I’m used to the hard work,” he said.

“I’m used to the adversity, the obstacles, and the pain. This is just another chapter. I am more than ready for it.

“This is an opportunity to represent the African continent globally. I do not intend to disappoint,” added Akpejiori.

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