Heavyweight boxing gets no more significant than with the following two Saudi Arabia dates in December and February.
One man aiming to impress is a giant top-division phenom ranked number three by the World Boxing Council.
The heavyweight division will spotlight Riyadh with a double main attraction event before Christmas. Two months later, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will collide for the undisputed crown.
KO artist Arslanbek Makhmudov, who is 18-0 with 17 KOs), will aim to impress before having one eye on facing the winner of Fury vs Usyk.
Makhmudov returns to Riyadh for what seems to be his most formidable career challenge on paper. He will face the undefeated world contender Agit Kabayel after his flawless 70-second performance against Junior Anthony Wright on October 28 at the same venue.
Ex-European champion Kabayel is also harboring a perfect record. It reads 23-0 with 15 KOs and breeds notable wins over double world title contender Derek Chisora, Ukrainian Andrii Rudenko, and Croatian power puncher Agron Smakici.
With his victorious record, he is knocking on the door of the division to fight the elite while being ranked in the top four federations. Kabayel is 9th with the IBF, 12th on the WBO list, 12th with the WBA, and 13th in the most updated WBC Ratings.
However, Kabayel represents a significant challenge for Makhmudov. He stands at 6’3” and 240 pounds. He is German with Turkish origins.
Eye of the Tiger’s Camille Estephan, who represents Makhmudov, is delighted to see his charge among the elite heavyweights.
‘I am very happy to return to Riyadh for this opportunity to fight a substantial opponent like Agit Kabayel,” said Estephan.
“This is a solid chance to showcase all the work Arslanbek Makhmudov has accomplished in the gym with the team. He can thus demonstrate that he is the ‘Lion’ of the jungle.
In 2019, Makhmudov won the WBC Continental Americas title, becoming the first man to stop Jonathan Rice. He added the NABF and NABA titles to his collection that same year.
In 2022, he defeated Carlos Takam to claim the WBC Silver title and solidified his place at the top of the rankings.
Currently ranked third by the WBC, only behind Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, the heavy hitter is on a quest for the world.
‘I loved fighting in Saudi Arabia, and I am very grateful that the Saudis are giving me this opportunity again. He’s a good opponent.
“It will be a good test for me. I am very excited about this fight,’ says Montreal’s giant.
Makhmudov’s trainer, Marc Ramsay, added: “Arslanbek will face his toughest opponent on December 23.
“Kabayel is well-rounded and hits hard with both hands. He also defeated the very dangerous Derek Chisora. The goal of the fight is clear: to demonstrate that we are in a different league.”
Presented as part of Riyadh Season by Queensbury, Matchroom Boxing, Top Rank, and Eye of the Tiger, the event will feature some of the biggest names in the heavyweight division.
Former divisional champions Wilder and Joseph Parker top the full ‘Day of Reckoning’ card for the evening. The co-feature sees British star Anthony Joshua face the Swedish puncher Otto Wallin.