TOLEDO, Ohio (May 2, 2023) — Early fireworks await this Fourth of July weekend as Toledo’s knockout king heads home to headline an action-packed heavyweight doubleheader featuring a quartet of the division’s hardest-hitting punchers.
Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson will collide against Kazakhstan’s Zhan Kossobutskiy in a 10-round main event Saturday, July 1, at Toledo’s Huntington Center. Anderson will fight for the first time as a pro in his hometown, just a few days shy of the 104th anniversary of Jack Dempsey’s historic win over Jess Willard on July 4, 1919, at Toledo’s Bay View Park. Dempsey’s triumph heralded a new era in his illustrious career, and Anderson expects to do the same in his first headlining attraction.
In the 10-round heavyweight co-feature, Montreal-based wrecking ball Arslanbek Makhmudov takes on Nigeria’s Raphael Akpejiori. The Makhmudov-Akpejiori showdown rounds out a doubleheader featuring four undefeated knockout artists with a combined record of 64 wins and 61 stoppages. Anderson-Kossobutskiy and Makhmudov-Akpejiori will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Universum Boxing, tickets go on sale May 2, at 1 p.m. ET and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
“Jared Anderson is a proud son of Toledo, and we are thrilled to bring Top Rank and ESPN to the ‘Glass City’,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Ever since Jared turned pro, we have set our sights on Toledo as a fight destination. He is now the best young heavyweight in the world, and the time was right to bring ‘The Real Big Baby’ home. Zhan Kossobutskiy is a ferocious puncher in his own right, and I expect an action-packed fight in front of a raucous, sold-out Huntington Center crowd.”
Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) debuted in the paid ranks in 2019 and has developed into a top contender. He has never gone beyond the sixth round, as he has stopped five of his opponents in the first round and another five in the second round. In 2020, he garnered global attention as Tyson Fury’s primary sparring partner, but he is now carving his own path. In his last fight, he knocked out then-undefeated George Arias in the third round, the second unbeaten fighter to have fallen victim to Anderson’s punching power. Ranked at No. 7 by the WBO and No. 11 by both the WBC and WBA, the 23-year-old now turns his attention to the division’s top dogs.
Anderson said, “To my family, friends, and fans in Toledo, I cannot wait to come home. This is a dream come true. Trust me, I am going to put on a show for you all. The support of my city has pushed me my entire career, and I know everyone will be in my corner on July 1.”
Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) is a 34-year-old southpaw from Kostanay, Kazakhstan. He has only gone the distance once in his career, a 10-round unanimous decision win over Kamil Sokolowski in August 2020. He has not gone passed the sixth round since. In 2021, he went 3-0 with three knockouts, stopping once-beaten Nigerian Onorede Ehwareme, iron-chinned Philadelphian Joey Dawejko, and then-undefeated Dominican Alexis Garcia. In 2022, he dispatched former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in the fifth round and is coming off a third-round knockout over previously unbeaten contender Hussein Muhamed in November.
Kossobutskiy said, “The fact that this fight will take place in the United States, in my opponent’s hometown, will make this fight interesting. I like to box strong opponents. Such fights are needed in the heavyweight division. I haven’t watched his fights. They say that he is good, but we will analyze him in the process of my fight preparation.”