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.