By Alexey Sukachev
Highly-regarded super middleweight Maxim Vlasov (29-1, 14 KOs) will enter light heavyweight waters on July 26 at the Skonto Stadium in Riga, Latvia. The 27-year old boxer-puncher from Samara, Russia, will not waste any time against little-known opponents or tune-ups but will go right after a meaningful person.
The choice of Vlasov is fellow countryman Dmitry Sukhotskiy (22-2, 16 KOs), who is rated #5 by the WBO, #7 by the WBC, #11 by the WBA and #12 by the IBF. The news was confirmed by Oleg Bogdanov, who serves as a matchmaker for several fight of the show.
Vlasov is presently on a ten-fight winning streak (including 3-0, 1 KO, in the States over the last year) since his lone loss in a controversial fight with Isaac Chilemba in February 2011. He is rated #4 by the WBC, #6 by the IBF, #12 by the WBA and #14 by the WBO in the super middleweight division.
Sukhotskiy, 33, is best known for his unsuccessful challenge of the WBO title against reigning beltholder Juergen Braehmer in December 2009, when the Russian came just one or two bombs short of the sensational stoppage, losing a relatively close unanimous decision instead. He has barely squeaked past unheralded Joey Vegas in his latest fight this June, scoring a close win over twelve rounds in his hometown of Barnaul. Sukhotskiy scored stoppage wins over 19-1 Aleksey Kuziemski (TKO 6 in 2010), 24-2 and presently IBF #1 Nadjib Mohammedi (TKO 2 in 2011) and 25-2 Eduard Gutknecht (TKO 5 in November 2013) earlier in his career.
Meanwhile, aforementioned Vegas (16-8-1, 9 KOs) of Kampala, Uganda, by way of London, UK, will oppose local hero Mairis Briedis (11-0, 9 KOs, not including a dozen of wins and a loss in Bigger’s Better installments) in a twelve-round cruiserweight fight, which will serve as the main event of the show, promoted by Kirill Pchelnikov’s Pushka Promotions alongside local organizer Andrey Platonov.
The true stars of the show will be legendary Americans Roy Jones Jr. (57-8, 40 KOs) and James Toney (76-9-3, 46 KOs) in separate fights. Jones’s opponent is yet unknown, while Toney will take on hulking (6’10’’) Russian heavyweight Evgueny Orlov (15-12-1, 11 KOs) over ten. Also on the card is WBO #10 light welterweight Aik Shakhnazaryan (12-0, 4 KOs) in a toughie against South African veteran Kaizer Mabuza (25-11-3, 15 KOs) in another twelve-rounder.