Arslanbek Makhmudov’s No 1 target is Anthony Joshua as the fearsome Russian aims to create ‘fear’ in heavyweight rivals, says promoter Camille Estephan.
As an amateur, Makhmudov produced a dramatic one-punch knockout of Mihai Nistor, the last man to stop Joshua in the unpaid ranks, and the 31-year-old faces Dillon Carman on Saturday night as he seeks to extend a professional record of 10 straight knockouts.
The Canada-based Makhmudov, nicknamed ‘Lion’, has only been beyond the third round on one occasion but could receive a fiery encounter against Carman.
“Arslanbek is going to install fear in the heavyweight division I believe,” promoter Estephan told Sky Sports.
“We’re expecting a big performance from Arslanbek. Definitely a lot of fireworks. Carman brings a firefight all the time and against Arslanbek Makhumdov, I think that’s very dangerous but at the same time, we have to see how Aslanbek can take these punches.”
“Arslanbek was the No 1 contender for the World Series of Boxing, and in that series he had a fight against Mihai Nistor, who was the last guy to knock out Anthony Joshua [in the amateur ranks].
Makhmudov’s destructive career has been stalled since a first-round knockout of former WBC champion Samuel Peter last December, but his team believe he can be swiftly moved towards the division’s top fighters.
Estephan said: “Marc Ramsay his coach is very conservative usually in his assessments, but has told me a few months ago, ‘Camille, we’re ready for anybody in the top five. Any of the champions, we’re ready. We need maybe two, three fights, a bit of experience under the lights and we’re ready.’
“You have a handful of great prospects. You talk about Dubois, you talk about Hrgovic, you talk about Ajagba. I think Arslanbek is probably the best prospect in the mix in my eyes and if you put him against Joshua, against Fury, or against Wilder, it’s going to be a tough fight for all of them.”
All the world heavyweight titles currently reside in Britain as Joshua has collected the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, while Tyson Fury is the current WBC champion.
Makhmudov has set his sights on Joshua, who is expected to make a title defence against Kubrat Pulev in December, and Estephan insists his fighter would welcome a battle in Britain.
“You’re going to see him wherever there’s a belt we can take. We’d love to fight in England,” he said.
“Absolutely, that would be the [Joshua] fight that we would want. If you were to ask me who we would want to fight between Wilder, Fury and Joshua? Joshua, his marketability, I honestly believe Makhmudov knocks him out.