Ryad Mehry is looking to make his United States debut in grand fashion Saturday night by playing spoiler when he challenges heavyweight contender Jared Anderson.

The fight will headline a Top Rank on ESPN show at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Ivory Coast-born, Belgian-based Mehry (32-2, 26 KOs) is a cruiserweight who’s been competing at heavyweight for his last three fights. 

There have been mixed results so far, as Mehry’s 2023 campaign featured a unanimous decision loss to Kevin Lerena in May and a split decision win against Tony Yoka in December. 

The 31-year-old Mehry isn’t entirely impressed by the ascending knockout artist Anderson’s (16-0, 15 KOs) power, alluding that 10 out of his 15 stoppages are due to TKOs, and that he won’t succumb as a similar victim. 

“He's a talented young fighter. Not a lot of experience yet, but he's talented,” Mehry told BoxingScene in an interview. “So far, most of his knockouts have been stoppages. His knockout power has yet to be proven on a real fighter.”

The 10-year-pro Mehry is known in boxing circles for being a WBA secondary cruiserweight titleholder, but he vacated his belt in 2022 instead of facing former champion Arsen Goulamirian in a rematch as the sanctioning body worked toward consolidating its many belt holders across different divisions. 

Merhy suffered an 11th-round TKO loss to Goulamirian in 2018.

“I want to show the American public that a small country like Belgium is capable of big things in boxing,” said Mehry. “I'm comfortable in this position. I like to be underestimated. This fight will give me the opportunity to show who I really am. They will know my name after this fight.” 

Mehry stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall and is undersized for a heavyweight. He plans on weighing in between 230 and 235 pounds for the fight, he said. 

Whether or not he continues his career as a heavyweight regardless of the result against Anderson is a question that he’ll assess on a case-by-case basis. 

“My future is in the bridgerweight division,” said Mehry. “The heavyweight division is not my real weight class, but I’m not refusing the right opportunities. I’m going to consider interesting opportunities.” 

In a heavyweight co-main event, 2016 Nigerian Olympian Efe Ajagba (19-1, 14 KOs) will take on 2016 Italian Olympian Guido Vianello (12-1-1, 10 KOs).

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.