Jared Anderson will fight Kazakhstan’s Zhan Kossobutskiy in a 10-round main event Saturday, July 1, at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
Toledo is home for Anderson, who will fight for the first time as a pro in his hometown. Big bouts have taken place in Toledo, for the record. Jack Dempsey beat Jess Willard on July 4, 1919, at Toledo’s Bay View Park.
In the 10-round heavyweight co-feature, Montreal-based Arslanbek Makhmudov will battle Nigeria’s Raphael Akpejiori. Anderson-Kossobutskiy and Makhmudov-Akpejiori will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Universum Boxing, tickets go on sale TODAY, May 2, at 1 p.m. ET and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Bob Arum Enthused About Jared Anderson
“Jared Anderson is a proud son of Toledo, and we are thrilled to bring Top Rank and ESPN to the ‘Glass City’,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum in a release. “Ever since Jared turned pro, we have set our sights on Toledo as a fight destination. He is now the best young heavyweight in the world, and the time was right to bring ‘The Real Big Baby’ home. Zhan Kossobutskiy is a ferocious puncher in his own right, and I expect an action-packed fight in front of a raucous, sold-out Huntington Center crowd.”
Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) went pro in 2019 and looks to be close to gaining a high-profile step up fight. In his last fight, he beat George Arias in the third round. Anderson is ranked No. 7 by the WBO, and No. 11 by the WBC and WBA.
Jared Anderson said in a release, “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.”
More on Kossobutskiy
NOTE: Here are quotes from the Tuesday press conference in Toledo…
Jared Anderson said, “I’m happy to be here. I’m feeling so loved and embraced here. It means everything to me. I plan to put on a great show. I plan to show the kids and the city that we are still fighting and are one of the biggest small cities in the nation. The world will know us.”
“I’ve been in the gym going crazy. As you can see, my body shows it. My fights show it. My power shows it. I’m going to keep pushing and stay on track so that this train keeps going.”
“I’m super excited. I’m happy to see all the familiar faces and all the friends and family. The cameras are good and all, but I’m doing this for the city. I’m doing this for the people that are here. I’m doing this for the people that don’t have phones in their hand and are out there in the world right now fighting to survive. I’ve been fighting to survive for a long time. Now that I don’t have to do that, I want to show you all that hopefully you won’t have to do that, too. Just keep fighting. Keep striving to be better and you will get there for sure.”
Promoter Bob Arum said, “I’m happy to be here because this is Jared Anderson’s hometown. We told him that one day he would fight his first main event here in Toledo. Jared is here. And just because he’s here doesn’t mean that he gets a piece of cake.
“He is fighting a very, very tough competitor because we believe that Jared Anderson will be the future heavyweight champion of the world. But to do that, he’s got to fight really tough guys. And we’ve gotten him an opponent from Kazakhstan who is 19-0 with 18 knockouts.”
From the release:
Jared Anderson foe Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) is a 34-year-old southpaw from Kostanay, Kazakhstan. He has only gone the distance once in his career, a 10-round unanimous decision win over Kamil Sokolowski in August 2020. He has not gone passed the sixth round since. In 2021, he went 3-0 with three knockouts, stopping once-beaten Nigerian Onorede Ehwareme, iron-chinned Philadelphian Joey Dawejko, and then-undefeated Dominican Alexis Garcia. In 2022, he dispatched former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in the fifth round and is coming off a third-round knockout over previously unbeaten contender Hussein Muhamed in November.
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.”
More on Makhmudov
From the release:
Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KOs) made his professional debut in December 2017 by knocking out Jaime Barajas in the first round. He secured five additional first-round stoppages in his first seven fights, and in 2019, he became the first fighter to knock out tough-as-nails veteran Jonnie Rice. Later that year, he knocked out former world champion Samuel Peter in the first round, starting a series of four consecutive first-round knockouts. In September 2022, Makhmudov went the distance for the first time against former world title challenger Carlos Takam. In his most recent bout, he stopped Michael Wallisch in only one round in December. The 6'5, 265-pound powerhouse is set to face the tallest opponent of his career before the Jared Anderson fight.
Makhmudov said, “Fighting for the first time in the United States, the Mecca of boxing, represents a major opportunity for me, not only because it will give me a chance to showcase my talent on the world stage, but also because it brings me one step closer to my dream of becoming a world champion. I've been dedicating my life to boxing, putting all the hard work and sacrifices for this moment. I'm ready. I want to fight the best, and I'm ready to give a great show to the boxing fans all over the world.”
Ex Basketballer Akpejiori Is Undefeated
From the release:
At 6'8′ and 260 pounds, Akpejiori (15-0, 14 KOs) casts an intimidating presence. A former collegiate basketball and football player for the University of Miami, he is a fistic natural, having stopped ten of his opponents in the first round and another four in the second round. In June 2022, the 32-year-old went the eight-round distance for the first time in his career against veteran Terrell Jamal Woods. In his most recent fight, Akpejiori scored a first-round knockout against Dell Long in January. Akpejiori will have a nearly three-inch height advantage over his opponent.
Akpejiori said, “I do not expect this to be an easy fight, but I have prepared for this moment for a long time. I’m used to the hard work. I’m used to the adversity, the obstacles, and the pain. This is just another chapter, and I am more than ready for it. This is an opportunity to represent the African continent on a global scale, and I do not intend to disappoint (on the Jared Anderson card).”
Also on the Card…
From the Top Rank release on the Jared Anderson card:
The ESPN+-streamed undercard will feature Toledo-born first responder DeAndre Ware and a pair of Cleveland’s sterling undefeated talents: Tiger Johnson and Dante Benjamin Jr.
Ware (15-4-2, 9 KOs) will return in a six-round super middleweight fight. He is a local firefighter who saved the life of Top Rank coordinator Pete Susens after performing CPR before a weigh-in inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble in 2020. Nearly three years later, Ware returns on a Top Rank show seeking to rebound from a defeat to unbeaten contender Christian Mbilli last September.
NOTE: Here is what Ware said at the Tuesday press conference:
“I remember boxing at the PAL. Back then, you were a little guy. We used to get on you all the time. Then you got older and started sparring. I used to put my mouthpiece out there and say, ‘you can’t knock it out my mouth.’ I can’t do that anymore. I’m proud of you, Jared.
“I thank you for this opportunity. I’m thankful for fighting here in front of my friends, fans and family. I’m happy.”
Rising U.S. Olympian Johnson (8-0, 5 KOs) will see action in an eight-round junior welterweight clash. Following a 2022 in which he went 5-0 with three knockouts, Johnson kicked off 2023 with an eight-round unanimous decision win in April over Alfonso Olvera
Light heavyweight prospect Benjamin (6-0, 4 KOs) will make his third appearance of 2023 in a six-round bout before the Jared Anderson fight. Benjamin began the year with a first-round knockout over then-unbeaten prospect Emmanueal Austin in January and is coming off a second-round destruction of Jasper McCargo in April.
Husam Al Mashhadi (6-0, 5 KOs), the fighting pride of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, will participate in a six-round junior middleweight fight prior to the Jared Anderson fight. The explosive southpaw prospect, who has packed venues in his hometown, is coming off a six-round decision over Gabriel Smith in March.
Junior middleweight standout Jahi Tucker (10-0, 5 KOs) hopes to follow-up April’s action-packed decision victory over Nikoloz Sekhniashvili in an eight-rounder against an opponent to be named.