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Home » Top Rank’s latest heavyweight star gets WBC title opportunity

Top Rank’s latest heavyweight star gets WBC title opportunity

Top Rank took on a new heavyweight contender they initially wanted to match with Jared Anderson. But now, their signing gets a WBC title chance before their number one up-and-comer.

Unbeaten contender Zhan Kossobutskiy, from Kazakhstan, will fight for the WBC silver heavyweight crown in his next fight. The move comes just weeks after Top Rank cited visa problems for the Anderson fight collapsing.

Despite those problems getting “The Heavyweight GGG” to America, Top Rank has secured a visa, but only against an alternative foe.

WBC silver heavyweight title

Kossobutskiy will now take on Nigerian power puncher Efe Ajagba on August 26 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The WBC strap will be up for grabs and push the winner closer to facing Tyson Fury.

ESPN will televise the fight between Ajagba [17-1, 13 KOs] and Kossobutskiy [19-0, 18 KOs], where they will contest the coveted silver ranking title.

Kossobutskiy, 34, was scheduled to face Jared Anderson on July 1 at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Former champion Charles Martin replaced Kossobutskiy on 11 days’ notice.

The 6.3-foot, 239-pound southpaw will now challenge for the WBC Silver title against Ajagba in an electrifying bout.

The 6.6-foot, 235-pound Ajagba has won two fights since Cuban contender Frank Sánchez [22-0, 15 KOs] beat him in October 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The 29-year-old beat Stephan Shaw of St. Louis via decision in his last fight this past January.

Anderson vs Rudenko / Kossobutskiy vs Ajagba

In the 10-round main event, Anderson, the fighting pride of Toledo, Ohio, will take on Ukrainian contender Andriy Rudenko.

The winners of both bouts could then meet by the end of 2023.

Anderson [15-0, 14 KOs] debuted as a pro in 2019 and has developed into a top contender. He ended his first 14 fights in six rounds or less.

The 23-year-old will make his third 2023 appearance less than two months after defeating former world champion Charles Martin in front of 7,234 hometown fans in his hometown.

Rudenko is a 39-year-old with more than 16 years of pro experience. He was 24-0 before losses to then-undefeated contenders Lucas Browne and Hughie Fury.

In recent years, he has provided stern tests to some of the sport’s top big men. Top Rank certainly has the future of the top division on lockdown.

Anderson is tipped to be the best of them all. However, the Europeans are coming. Kossobutskiy was joined recently by Olympic champion Bakhodir Jalolov at the Las Vegas stable.

Jalolov is also scheduled to fight on the bill.

The undercard streams exclusively on ESPN+ at 6:50 p.m. ET / 3:50 p.m. PT.

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