Vladimir Shishkin has been patiently waiting for his turn to face Canelo Alvarez. That opportunity could come next with a win tonight.

The unbeaten Shishkin will face Jose Uzcategui in a world title super middleweight elimination bout at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 12-round bout will precede the main event bout between lightweight contenders Michael Rivera and Frank Martin.

Both fights will air live on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).

Shishkin (13-0, 8 knockouts), who is originally from Stepnoe, Russia and now resides in Detroit, Michigan, is currently ranked No. 9 by the IBF. The winner between Shishkin and Uzcategui, who is ranked No. 7, would earn the No. 2 ranking by the IBF.

The 31-year-old should be familiar to fight fans, particularly to those who tune in to fight cards on Showtime platforms. Shishkin has appeared on a handful of ShoBox telecasts, including his latest outing on February 17 of last year, when he defeated Sena Agbeko by unanimous decision.

In his last bout on March 5, a stay-busy fight, Shishkin stopped Jeyson Minda in the sixth round. 

Shishkin has slowly emerged as a solid contender, but Uzcategui, on paper, will be the toughest test of his pro career.  

Dmitiry Salita, who represents Shishkin, is confident Shishkin can defeat Uzcategui and send a statement that he belongs amongst the elite in the division.

“I signed Vladimir three years ago believing that he had the skills to be one of the best super middleweights in the world,” Salita told BoxingScene Thursday evening. “Uzcategui is a serious test to show how good he really is. He had a great camp with (trainer) SugarHill (Steward) and I look forward to a defining performance from him on Saturday night.

“Canelo was our goal, thus (winning) a title eliminator is a step in that direction.”

Uzcategui (32-4, 27 KOs), who is originally from El Vigia, Venezuela and now resides in Las Vegas, knocked out Felipe Romero in the second round of his last bout on May 20. The 31-year-old has won his last four of his last five bouts since losing the IBF world super middleweight title to Caleb Plant in January 2019. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing