The current crop of top heavyweights could all be just a few fights away from hanging up the gloves for good, and eyes are now turning to who’s going to take the throne.
Boxing’s top division seems to be in good, powerful hands, with plenty of talent coming through to replace the likes of Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua when they call it day.
One such man is Arslanbek Makhmudov – a 260-pound Eastern European who has blasted through all but one of his 16 opponents so far, giving him a knockout ratio of 94%, which even trumps the notorious Wilder who boasts 93% KOs.
Of those knockouts, eleven came in the opening round, and fans expect big things from the big puncher. Speaking to Seconds Out, Makhmudov said that he was next up regardless of whether or not the top dogs retire.
“Even if they don’t leave, my goal is destroy them.
The top guys – I don’t care if they leave or don’t leave. My goal is to reach these guys, fight these guys and show them I’m not just at the same level. I’m better. I’m here.”
On a bout with Joshua, Makhmudov says it would be entertaining for the UK fans because ‘they know’ what he’s about. He’s open to facing Wilder in American ‘100%’, well aware that the power of both men can only make for a firefight.
He’s gunning for WBC champion, Fury, too, but first up could be Jared Anderson, who headlines the July 1 card in Toledo, Ohio that Makhmudov will feature on against Nigeria’s Raphael Akpejioro, who himself has 14 knockouts from 15 fights.
Anderson and Makhmudov are climbing the heavyweight ladder at the same time despite the Russian being a decade older than the American. Both promoted by Top Rank, they may just be on a collision course should they emerge victorious in Ohio.