Magomed Kurbanov and Liam Smith meet at the crossroads, and with a new audience in tow.

The intriguing junior middleweight clash takes place Friday evening (local time) at KRK Sports Palace in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The event airs live on Fite TV in Russia, marking the first Pay-Per-View venture for event promoter RCC Boxing Promotions with such events normally airing on local networks.

Fite TV is also the viewing option of choice in Smith’s England home region and elsewhere throughout the world, while fans in the United States can watch on ESPN+.

“We’re very excited about reaching a worldwide audience for this event,” promoter German Titov told

Both boxers easily made weight for the scheduled 12-round headliner. Kurbanov weighed right at the 154-pound limit, while Smith came in at a shredded 153.4 pounds.

Kurbanov is being groomed for a title fight following post-pandemic early knockout wins over Ilya Ochkin and Dmitry Mikhaylenko in his two most recent starts. The locally based 25-year-old contender turned heads following a convincing 12-round win over former title challenger Diego Chaves in Nov. 2019, steadily improving in subsequent bouts leading to this point.

Liverpool’s Smith (29-2-1, 16KOs) is a former WBO junior middleweight titlist who represents Kurbanov’s stiffest challenge to date. The 32-year-old Brit enjoyed a near year-long title reign before conceding the belt to pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) in Sept. 2016. He has since won five of his last six starts, including back-to-back victories over Liam Williams. The lone loss over that stretch came in a competitive but clear 12-round unanimous decision to Jaime Munguia in their July 2018 title fight.

In his most recent start, Smith scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Roberto Garcia in Dec. 2019 to pick up his third consecutive victory.

The winner will be steered in the direction of what could be the division’s first-ever undisputed champion in the four-belt era. Lineal champ and WBC/WBA/IBF titlist Jermell Charlo (34-1, 18KOs) and WBO title claimant Brian Castano meet July 17 with all of the belts on the line.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox