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Arslanbek Makhmudov vs Raphael Akpejiori joins Anderson vs Kossobutskiy on July 1st

DeAndre Ware, Tiger Johnson, and others will compete on the ESPN+ prelims

Arslanbek Makhmudov makes his U.S. debut on July 1st in Toledo
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Jared Anderson’s July 1st homecoming clash with Zhan Kossobutskiy is officially a heavyweight doubleheader, as Arslanbek Makhmudov will battle Raphael Akpejiori in the co-feature.

Anderson said, “To my family, friends, and fans in Toledo, I cannot wait to come home. This is a dream come true. Trust me, I am going to put on a show for you all. The support of my city has pushed me my entire career, and I know everyone will be in my corner on July 1.”

Kossobutskiy said, “The fact that this fight will take place in the United States, in my opponent’s hometown, will make this fight interesting. I like to box strong opponents. Such fights are needed in the heavyweight division. I haven’t watched his fights. They say that he is good, but we will analyze him in the process of my fight preparation.”

Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KO) had a rough go of things against Carlos Takam last September, settling for a unanimous decision despite dropping the veteran twice, then returned to his smashing ways against victim-to-the-stars Michael Wallisch three months later. Akpejiori (15-0, 14 KO) looks closer to Wallisch than Takam, having built his record on garbage competition. Just two of his wins came over opponents with winning records, and one of them was the broken husk of Santander Silgado.

I can understand his handlers’ hesitation to push things after Takam, but Makhmudov’s 33. He should not be fighting worse competition than the decade-younger Anderson.

The Ohio-heavy ESPN+ undercard features DeAndre Ware (15-4-2, 9 KO), Delante “Tiger” Johnson (8-0, 5 KO), and Dante Benjamin Jr (6-0, 4 KO). Husam Al Mashhadi (6-0, 5 KO) and Jahi Tucker (10-0, 5 KO) will see action as well.

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