Emerging light heavyweight Ali Izmailov is set to take what, at least on paper, appears to be his toughest test October 21.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the unbeaten Russian contender will meet Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic in a 10-round main event Showtime will televise from Bally’s Grand Ballroom in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Izmailov-Kalajdzic fight will headline a “ShoBox: The New Generation” tripleheader that night.
The 29-year-old Izmailov (9-0, 6 KOs) is ranked seventh among the WBC’s light heavyweight contenders, ninth by the IBF and 11th by the WBO.
The 31-year-old Kalajdzic (27-2, 19 KOs) is ranked seventh by the WBO. The Serbian veteran also has faced a higher level of opposition than Izmailov.
Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs), the IBF, WBC and WBO 175-pound champion, knocked out Kalajdzic in the fifth round of their title fight in May 2019 at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California. Kalajdzic, of St. Petersburg, Florida, is 3-0 since Beterbiev beat him.
Kalajdzic’s only other loss was a debatable defeat to former WBA world light heavyweight champ Marcus Browne, who defeated Kalajdzic by split decision in an eight-round bout that took place in April 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Browne (then 17-0), a southpaw from Staten Island, New York, dropped Kalajdzic in the first round, but Kalajdzic came back to send Browne to the canvas in the sixth round.
Izmailov easily out-pointed previously unbeaten Eric Murguia (14-1, 12 KOs), of Mission Hills, California, in his most recent fight, a 10-rounder August 10 at The Garden Theater in Detroit.
Showtime will air two eight-round bouts before Izmailov and Kalajdzic clash in the main event next month.
Junior middleweights Marquis Taylor (12-1-2, 1 KO), of Galena Park, Texas, and Detroit’s Marlon Harrington (8-0, 7 KOs) will square off in one of those fights. The other eight-rounder will match super middleweights Sean Hemphill (14-0, 8 KOs), a New Orleans native, and David Stevens (11-0, 8 KOs), of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.