Hard-hitting Nigerian undefeated heavyweight boxer, Rafael Akpejori, 32, will be hoping to earn a knockout win over Russia’s knockout specialist Arslanbek Makhmudov when both fighters clash on July 1 at the Huntington Center, Toledo.
The fight will be one of the most anticipated undercard bouts in the Jared Anderson vs. Charles Martin headliner. Both fighters are currently unbeaten in 31 booths amongst themselves amassing a total of 29 knockouts.
Akpejori has recorded 14 knockout wins in 15 professional fights since turning pro in 2018. He is unbeaten in all 15 professional fights. Makhmudov nicknamed ‘Lion’ has recorded 15 knockouts in 16 professional wins with 11 out of 15 of his knockout victories coming in the first round.
The Russian is ranked No. 5 in the WBC and WBA heavyweight categories while he sits at No. 15 in the WBO ranking. Akpejori on the other hand is yet to be ranked in the top 15 of any of the heavyweight belt categories.
The fight will be Akpejori’s second of 2023 having knocked out Dell Long in January at Calta’s Fitness & Boxing in Tampa, Florida. Makhmudov is also coming into the fight off the back of three wins in 2022 against Mariusz Wach, Carlos Takam, and Michael Wallisch.
A win for Makhmudov will edge him closer to a title fight and according to bookmakers, the Russian has the higher odds of winning the fight as a result of the tougher opposition he’s faced.
“In this case, Makhmudov is the heavy favorite for a reason. He looks more like an athlete–faster, bigger, stronger–than Akpejiori, who is more of a big man that trains in boxing. These are just observations from watching past fight footage of both,” according to insidersbettingdigest.com.
“Makhmudov is the better puncher and will be able to get offense off pretty easily and land shots at a high rate.Akpejiori doesn’t really move his head off the center line and will be there to get hit and knocked out. A stoppage in rounds 4-6 seems like the sweet spot here.”
Akpejori on the other hand also has an advantage over Makhmudov. At 6ft 8in, the Nigerian former Collegiate basketball turned boxer is 2½ inches taller than the Russian while he also has a 6cm reach advantage over his 34-year-old opponent.