By Francisco Salazar
Shohjahon Ergashev wants to fight the best junior welterweights in boxing. And that includes all world titleholders.
Ergashev could be biting off more than he could chew, but so far he has proved he is the goods.
The hard-hitting Ergashev will face Mykal Fox in a clash of unbeaten fighters tonight at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. The 10-round bout will headline a ’ShoBox’ telecast on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
Ergashev (15-0, 14 knockouts) last fought on Dec. 14, knocking out Argentina’s Nazareno Gaston Ruiz at 18 seconds of the opening round.
Tonight will mark the second time Ergashev has fought on the ’ShoBox’ series. On Jan. 12 of last year, Ergashev battered and broke down previously-unbeaten Sonny Frederickson, stopping him in the third round.
“I wanted to make big statement in my U.S. television debut,” Ergashev told Boxingscene through interpreter and promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Many boxing experts thought I was in over my head, but my promoter understands boxing very, very well and thought it was a good fight for me.”
Ergashev will square off against Fox (19-0, 5 KOs), a fighter with more experience and will likely use his extraordinary reach and height to try and outbox Ergashev. Fox will have a five-inch height advantage.
The 27-year-old Ergashev believes he can deliver an explosive performance at the expense of Fox, who resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
“He is very good,” said Ergashev, who is originally from Uzbekistan and now resides in Detroit, Michigan. “(Fox) is tall for the weight class. He is a good boxer, with good skills, but I am going to knock him out.”
Although he has fought just 15 times as a pro, Ergashev is already ranked No. 5 by the WBA. He is also ranked by the IBF at No. 11.
Ergashev may have to wait for WBA titleholder Kiryl Relikh and IBF titleholder Ivan Baranchyk as they are both in semi-final bouts of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament.
Although he is not ranked by the WBC or the WBO, Ergashev believes he is the best fighter at 140 pounds.
“As of today, I believe that I am the best in the world,” said Ergashev, who goes by the nickname ‘Descendant of Tamerlane,’ which means he is a great warrior. “I just need the stage and opportunity. The fight with Mykal is very important.”
“As far as fighting for a world title, I think in two fights that is realistic. I fought five times in 2018 and I hope that title shot happens later this year.”
Ergashev believes he has not yet hit his ceiling as a fighter. Having notched 14 knockouts in 15 bouts, he believes he is someone more than just a fighter who hits hard.
“I improved a lot over the last year training at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. My skills and understanding of boxing definitely got better. You can always get better and I am learning every day. I want to be a great boxer.”
“I believe fighting better competition is going to improve me. I look forward to showcasing my power and skills against the very good and capable Mykal Fox on Friday night. My only request to my promoter is to deliver to me the best possible fighters as opponents so I can make statements every time I step into the ring.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing