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Efe Ajagba vs Zhan Kossobutskiy and Bakhodir Jalolov vs Onoriode Ehwarieme join Anderson vs Rudenko

Zhan Kossobutskiy withdrew from a fight with Jared Anderson due to visa issues

Efe Ajagba welcomes Zhan Kossobutskiy to the States on August 26th
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

The big men will be out in force when Jared Anderson fights Andriy Rudenko on August 26th. Top Rank announced today that the three-fight ESPN broadcast will see Efe Ajagba face Zhan Kossobutskiy in the co-feature and Bakhodir Jalolov make his promotional debut against Onoriode Ehwarieme.

“Exposed” feels like too harsh a word, but Ajagba (17-1, 13 KO) certainly seemed to hit his ceiling in an underwhelming 2021 loss to Frank Sanchez. After smashing Jozsef Darmos in a get-well bout, he grinded out an on-paper 50/50 clash with Stephan Shaw in January. Though he’s unlikely to emerge as a true contender, he’s by far the toughest opponent of Kossobutskiy’s (19-0, 18 KO) career. The Kazakh standout was previously slated to face Anderson on the 1st before running into visa issues.

Honestly, Top Rank probably should have done this matchup earlier; introducing Kossobutskiy to the American audience before booking him against Anderson would have made for quite a bit more buzz. I’m guessing they’ll revisit the matchup if both emerge victorious.

Jalolov (12-0, 12 KO) is Top Rank’s latest big-ticket acquisition, a 2020 Olympic gold medalist who’s looked the goods as a professional. Nigeria’s Ehwarieme (20-2, 19 KO) got derailed by Rodney Hernandez in 2019 and stopped by Kossobutskiy two fights later, so “The Big Uzbek” shouldn’t have too many issues.

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