(Montreal) Montreal heavyweight of Russian origin Arslanbek Makhmudov will go abroad for the first time to face Nigerian Raphael Akpejiori, on July 1, in the semi-finals of an important Top Rank gala, presented in Toledo, in Ohio.

Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KOs), current North American Boxing Association (NABA) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) heavyweight champion and World Boxing Council (WBC) silver belt holder , and Akpejiori (15-0, 14 KOs) will meet in the semi-finals of the clash between heavyweights Jared Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) and Zhan Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 K.-O.).

The Marc Ramsay protege is ranked fifth among World Boxing Council (WBC) and Wolrd Boxing Association (WBA) title contenders, as well as 15th in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Akpejiori, a six-foot-eight, 260-pound colossus, is unranked.

And for good reason.

Of his 15 opponents, only two had a winning record at the time of facing him, including one who had just been knocked out. in four of his last six outings. Two others were in their professional debuts.

Difficult to understand what Makhmudov, who has always faced boxers with a winning record, including some renowned ones, will look for against this opponent. A K. -O. fast on a big stage? Certainly, it is the visibility that we are aiming for with this fight, during which the titles of Makhmudov will not be at stake.

In the preliminaries, DeAndre Ware (15-4-2, 9 K. -O.) will make his first fight since losing to Christian Mbilli in September 2022. Olympian Delante Johnson (8-0, 5 K. -O. ), Dante Benjamin (6-0, 4 KOs), Husam Al Mashhadi (6-0, 5 KOs) as well as Jahi Tucker (10-0, 5 KOs) will also take go to the party.

The gala will be available on ESPN in the United States and Punchinggrace.com in Canada.