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Shields vs Gabriels: Umar Salamov vs Brian Howard to open SHO broadcast

A pair of light heavyweight prospects will kick off the tripleheader in Detroit.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Light heavyweight prospect Umar Salamov and Brian Howard will square off in a 10-round bout to open the Friday, June 22 Showtime broadcast, which is headlined by Claressa Shields vs Hanna Gabriels in the main event, and also includes Christina Hammer vs Tori Nelson.

Salamov (20-1, 15 KO) is a 24-year-old Russian now fighting out of Nevada, who last fought on December 21, a win over veteran Artem Redko. He lost to Australia’s Damien Hooper last year in Brisbane on the Pacquiao-Horn undercard, but it was a close fight and he’s a legitimate prospect.

Howard (13-1, 10 KO) is a 38-year-old club fighter from Atlanta looking to make a mark as an underdog. He’s won three straight, but was knocked out by sub-.500 opponent Harvey Jolly back in December 2012, after which he was out of the sport until returning in 2015. He fought once in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and is lined up here for another bout, his biggest to date by far.

“I waited a long time to make my U.S. debut and I am thrilled that it’s going to be on Showtime,” said Salamov. “Training at the Kronk Gym in Detroit has been a phenomenal experience. I look forward to putting my skills and experience together to make a powerful statement. Howard is an accomplished and skilled boxer. I am coming in ready and know that it will be an exciting fight for the fans at Masonic Temple. This is my opportunity to show that I belong at the top of the light heavyweight division.”

“It’s one of the opportunities that every fighter hopes to get,” Howard said. “I want to thank Team Salamov for giving me the chance to take part in this event. I look forward to future opportunities and putting on a great show on fight night. I know he’s a champion, which I respect. He’s a skilled fighter who handles himself well in the ring, but I predict I will get him out of there between the fifth and 10th round.”

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