Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (October 25, 2023) - The emerging Top Heavyweight Contender, Arslanbek Makhmudov, is slated to face Junior Anthony Wright in a 10-round NABF title bout in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Originally, Makhmudov was scheduled to square off against Agron Smakici, a 6-foot-6 southpaw, but the latter withdrew for undisclosed reasons, resulting in a change of opponents for Makhmudov, who had to adapt his training accordingly.
“Our opponent changed, and we also changed our preparation. We had enough time,” explained Makhmudov to The Ring, boasting an impressive record of 17 wins, 16 of which were knockouts. “We did good sparring from southpaw to orthodox. But it's okay; we had enough preparation for that. I checked him out; it's a good fight. He fought top guys and has good experience, he's a fast boxer, and has good movement. It's going to be a good experience for me."
Makhmudov, who has secured victories over former WBC champion Samuel Peter (TKO 1) and former world title challengers Mariusz Wach (KO 6) and Carlos Takam (UD 10), made a notable impact in his ESPN debut last July by snatching Raphael Akpejiori’s undefeated status within two rounds.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Russian fighter based in Montreal, who trains under the tutelage of renowned Marc Ramsay, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to display his skills on the grandest stage.
As a modern-day top heavyweight specimen, Makhmudov is gradually making his way towards a coveted shot at the heavyweight title.
"Of course, every fight is a step closer to my target," he affirmed. "That's why we do what we have to do, move forward, and I try to do my best."
Makhmudov's promoter, Camille Estephan of Eye of The Tiger, believes this is a perfect opportunity for his fighter to garner mainstream attention.
"Arslanbek has been waiting to show the world that he is willing to take on all comers and ready to take the crown," Estephan declared. "We have been patient going through the ranks, yet we know he is ready to take the throne. When the opportunity arises, we will take it. This fight offers great exposure, which should help us gain that opportunity."
Wright (20-4-1, 17 KOs) had a successful amateur career, clinching the Chicago Golden Gloves title three times before turning professional in 2011. He won his first ten fights as a cruiserweight before contending with Stivens Bujaj to a 10-round draw. However, he suffered three defeats in his following six matches when he faced off against Rakhim Chakhkiev (KO 8), Beibut Shumenov (TKO 10), and Ruslan Fayfer (UD 12).
The 37-year-old has since transitioned to the heavyweight division. He experienced a surprising stoppage by journeyman Jon Jones (KO 2) but has made a comeback with two wins.
IMakhmudov's size and strength should overpower Wright, who may pose some tricky challenges at times. Nevertheless, Makhmudov is expected to wear down the American fighter and secure a stoppage inside three rounds.