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Maxim Vlasov signs with Top Rank ahead of WBO tournament

The veteran is now part of Top Rank’s stable and will face Umar Salamov in the summer.

International boxing event in Sochi, Russia Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Veteran light heavyweight Maxim Vlasov has officially signed a deal with Top Rank ahead of the start of a WBO-mandated four-man light heavyweight title tournament which will begin this summer, and will see Vlasov face Top Rank’s Umar Salamov in the semifinal round.

Vlasov, a 33-year-old Russian who has fought between middleweight and cruiserweight over his 15-year pro career, has settled in at light heavyweight recently, moving down in weight last year and winning fights over Omar Garcia, Isaac Chilemba, and Emmanuel Martey, all in Russia.

At 45-3 (26 KO), Vlasov has long been seen as a solid fringe contender sort of fighter, but never near the elite in class in any division he’s competed in to date.

The WBO tournament will also feature a semifinal bout between former titleholder Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr, with the winners of Alvarez-Smith and Vlasov-Salamov meeting by the end of 2020, in all likelihood.

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