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 in 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 most 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 said, “Fighting for the first time in the United States, the Mecca of boxing, represents a major opportunity for me, 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 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 the boxing fans all over the world.”
At 6’8′ and 260 pounds, Akpejiori (15-0, 14 KOs) casts an intimidating presence. A former collegiate basketball and football player for the University of Miami, he is a fistic natural, having stopped ten of his 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.
Akpejiori said, “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. I’m used to the adversity, the obstacles, and the pain. This is just another chapter, and I am more than ready for it. This is an opportunity to represent the African continent on a global scale, and I do not intend to disappoint.”