Skip to content
Home » Exclusive: Makhmudov on Kabayel, Usyk, and beating Tyson Fury

Exclusive: Makhmudov on Kabayel, Usyk, and beating Tyson Fury

  • by
  • 4 min read

Arslanbek Makhmudov spoke to World Boxing News following his stunning knockout comeback to action on May 25.

The heavyweight giant returned from a shock defeat to Agit Kabayel, where Makhmudov suffered a broken hand, leaving him at the mercy of defeat. Rejuvenated, Makhmudov is ready to embark on a run that eventually avenges his solitary loss and challenges the best in the division.

Asked how he felt about beating Miljan Rovcanin, who he knocked through the ropes twice on his way to 19-1, Makhmudov was happy with how the fans greeted the victory.

“It was a good win for me and an important win for me,” Makhmudov told World Boxing News in an exclusive interview. “It’s a fight after a loss and after a big injury.

“I have to make sure my hand is good, so that’s why it is a very important fight and win. Of course, if I have a chance to finish quickly, I do it, but I just do boxing, and usually it [the knockout] happens.”

For Makhmudov, suffering a reverse for the first time in his career, and on such a big stage as Saudi Arabia, Kabayel remains a target for the future. However, the 34-year-old isn’t fixated on the German after Kabayel stopped Frank Sanchez in another stunning upset.

“I don’t have a rematch plan because I had to wait to come back. This guy [Kabayel] is now challenging for a title [after winning a WBC eliminator], so it’s another story. Of course, if he wants, if he gets the title and I can become challenger, then of course we can do a rematch.”

On Kabayel halting Sanchez, he added: “Honestly, I didn’t watch it, but I heard about Kabayel beating this guy [Sanchez]. I am very happy for him. He is a good boxer, a good guy. He had good work and a good body shot.”

The next topic switched to the undisputed fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury. Makhmudov believes the rematch is still in the balance.

“Usyk did a very good job and impressed the world. He showed how brave he is, a brave guy. Honestly, during the fight [mid-rounds], he was losing the fight, but in the second part of the fight, he started to go more [on the] attack and more action. In the end, I think he won. I think this guy [Usyk] has good boxing skills and wanted to win more than Fury. That’s why he beat him.”

Asked whether boxing will now favor the smaller heavyweights and if he can see himself facing Fury or Usyk, Makhmudov replied: “I don’t think it’s about size. Anything is possible. For example, Mike Tyson was smaller.

“It’s the skills you have, how you work, or how you prepare for the fight. It’s all about mental strength and boxing skills for me. Of course, size gives you the opportunity, but if you don’t have mental strength and boxing skills, it doesn’t work. Anything is possible. Like I said, there are two top guys if it’s possible. Tyson Fury, I can adapt for him, and I can beat him. Usyk is doing what he does well, and it’s fifty-fifty [in their rematch].”

Finally, on who he’d like to face next and where he wants to be in twelve months, the Canada-based Eye of the Tiger star stated: “I don’t care about names in my division. Anyone who is close to a title or who has a title, these guys are for sure my target in the top division.

“My plan for the next twelve months is to train to be in shape to stay active and improve my skills to fight as often as possible. That’s my goal. I don’t have too much time, but that’s why I have to use all of my time [wisely].”

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.