Jared Anderson hasn’t only secured the type of test he’s long sought but the very opponent whom he has targeted for months.
The unbeaten heavyweight prospect has breezed through the early stages of his pro career with minimal resistance, as evidenced in his perfect record (7-0, 7KOs). The 21-year old Toledo native has enjoyed an active stretch since turning pro in Oct. 2019, though having fought less than 27 combined minutes.
That dynamic is expected to change as he faces Kingsley Ibeh (5-1-1, 4KOs), a 27-year old bruising heavyweight from Phoenix by way of Nigeria. The two collide this Saturday, live on ESPN from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas and in a fight where Anderson expects to go some rounds.
“Top for sure,” Anderson insisted during a recent media conference call of where Ibeh ranks among his eight pro opponents to date. “He’s definitely better than everyone I’ve faced to date. He’s an opponent who has heart.
"He’s not just going to lay down. He’s actually going to fight. He has something for me and I’d love to prove a point.”
Anderson has proven his ability to close the show as soon as the moment calls for it. An effort has been made to increase his level of opposition, though pretty much producing the same result every time out. Anderson has been extended beyond the opening round just twice in his career and has yet to see round five.
Going rounds isn’t necessarily the goal, though improving the quality of opposition he continues to knock out remains a top priority.
Like his unbeaten opponent, Ibeh has proven his worth in Top Rank’s Las Vegas bubble. Saturday will mark his fourth appearance on site—and the fifth for Anderson—while offering a credible account on every occasion. Ibeh is 2-0-1 at this location, having avenged his lone career defeat last June while fighting unbeaten Guido Vianello—a 2016 Olympian for Italy—to a six-round draw in his most recent bout last October.
Anderson watched with keen interest even ahead of his fourth straight Vegas appearance, a 1st round knockout of Luis Peña last Halloween. The expectation is that either fighter could be next, though always more likely to be Ibeh and now a version who has proven to be a tough out at this level.
“He’s a true fighter,” insists Anderson. “I’m tired of coming up saying Top Rank has me fighting bums and dudes that are just coming to lay down.
“I’m looking to fight someone, a guy who they pick to test me, who I can then pick apart and prove to everyone that I am the best prospect there is.”
The bout serves as the opener of a televised tripleheader, anchored by a vacant light heavyweight title fight between Joe Smith Jr. (25-3, 21KOs) and Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox