The future couldn’t be brighter for Jared Anderson, though his next fight is all about revisiting the past.

Early indications suggest a massive turnout in store when the 23-year-old heavyweight will headline a July 1 ESPN telecast from Huntington Center in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Anderson beamed with pride as he shared the stage with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, co-promoter Antonio Leonard and local politicians—mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and councilwoman Vanice Williams, both of whom are hardcore boxing fans—to formally announce his upcoming clash versus fellow undefeated contender Zhan Kossobutskiy.

“I’m super excited. Just happy to see all the familiar faces,” Anderson said through a radiant smile during a press conference held Tuesday at the Glass City Pavilion in Toledo. “The friends, the family. The cameras are good and all but I’m doing this for the city. I’m doing this for the people out here. I’m doing this for the people that don’t have phones in their hands and are out there in the world right now fighting to survive. 

“I’ve been fighting to survive for a long time. Now that I don’t have to do that, I want to show you all that hopefully you won’t have to do that, too. Just keep fighting. Keep striving to be better and you all gonna get it for sure.”  

Anderson (14-0, 14KOs) has fought the good fight since he first joined the city’s local PAL boxing league at Central City gym more than 15 years ago. It was the one sport that always stuck with the proud Glass City native, who won back-to-back U.S. national championships in 2017 and 2018. There was a point when he was tabbed to represent the U.S. in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but decided to forgo the process and instead signed a promotional contract with Top Rank upon turning pro in 2019.

The red-hot contender has been a knockout every time out through 14 bouts, none of which have gone beyond the sixth round. Eight of Anderson’s first ten bouts took place in Nevada, including five straight in the MGM Bubble in Las Vegas during the pandemic.

Anderson has appeared on the East Coast in three of his past four starts, the closest he has been to a home game. Plans were in place to change that status heading into his previous bout, a third-round stoppage of unbeaten George Arias on April 8 in Newark, New Jersey. Top Rank already planned to have him headline his first show in his next bout, that development revealed immediately after his most recent ESPN-televised win.

The response to his return home was enthusiastic and immediate, though not at all surprising to Anderson. In fact, it was a welcome reminder of the community effort to arrive at this point.

“Those people you see in the crowd, they helped me get here today,” noted Anderson. “They pushed me to get here. They called my phone, stopped me from going to parties and all those other events, to make sure that I got here to this day, to this point right here to make this whole city proud.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox