Showtime has revealed the lineup for its October 21st ShoBox tripleheader in Atlantic City, which features a light heavyweight crossroads bout in the main event and four additional undefeated fighters.
In the spotlight stands Ali Izmailov (9-0, 6 KO), one of Dmitry Salita’s prized up-and-comers. The 29-year-old got his first big win in 2020 when he knocked out Ruslan Fayfer, and while he fought just once in 2021, he’s picked up the pace with three victories in 2022 alone.
He faces what looks like his stiffest test to date in Radivoje Kalajdzic (27-2, 19 KO). Though clearly a skilled fighter, “Hot Rod’s” inactivity has held him back from making a real impact. His biggest fights to date were losses, one a bogus 2016 decision to Marcus Browne and the other a very real 2019 knockout to Artur Beterbiev.
“I am excited to make my debut on SHOBOX against a very experienced and proven fighter like Kalajdzic,” said the Salita-promoted Izmailov. “I will bring my toolbox and put it to work on October 21 and show the world why I’m the future of the light heavyweight division.”
“Not to overlook Ali Izmailov, as he’s a good fighter, but I can affirm that I’m one of the best light heavyweights in the world,” said Kalajdzic, who lives and trains in St. Petersburg, Fla. “This fight will put me in contention for a world title and I’m confident everyone will see that I belong in the conversation with Dmitry Bivol, Gilberto Ramirez, Anthony Yarde, and those guys. I’m grateful for the opportunity DiBella Entertainment and my management were able to put together with this fight. Expect my best performance come October 21.”
At super middleweight, series veteran Isaiah Steen (16-0, 12 KO) faces Elvis Figueroa (11-0, 7 KO). Steen is the clear A-side; he beat Kalvin Henderson in a ShoBox main event last time out and is the only one who gets a quote in the press release, though it does point out that Figueroa beat Edgar Berlanga in the amateurs.
“Fighting on SHOWTIME is a huge milestone in my career,” Steen said. “I have stayed in the gym since my last fight on July 23, 2021. My team has made sure that my weight and nutrition are on point. I know I can defeat anyone placed in front of me. Teamwork definitely makes the dream work.”
The same weight class hosts Sean Hemphill (14-0, 8 KO) vs David Stevens (11-0, 8 KO). Hemphill trains under Buddy McGirt, Stevens under Ronnie Shields.
“This fight means a lot to me,” Hemphill said. “I understand how big of an opportunity fighting on SHOWTIME is for my team and me. This is something I’ve been working towards since I was a kid. I feel like I was born to do this, and I’m ready to show the world why I belong on this stage! Camp is going well with coach Buddy McGirt. He has a lot of knowledge and wisdom that I can use and soak up to help improve my game and skill set.”
“I am excited and thrilled to be on SHOBOX in my 12th fight,” Stevens said. “Since training with Ronnie Shields, I have learned so much and will show it on October 21.”
Also, please enjoy this line about Hemphill’s nickname:
His nickname “Silky” is an amalgamation of his dad’s nickname from his kickboxing days (“Spyder”) and his smooth fighting style — spiders produce silk.