By Luke Furman
Russian heavyweight Sergey Kuzmin is aiming to become a mandatory challenger to world title by the end of 2018.
The 30-year-old Kuzmin is being fast-tracked to a world title.
With only 11 wins (8 by KO), he will take a serious step up in class by facing veteran Amir Mansour on November 27th in Moscow. Despite his age of 45, Mansour is always in exceptional shape, punches hard and is widley regarded as one of the more durable fighters in the heavyweight division.
The current champions are Deontey Wilder of the WBC, Joseph Parker for the WBO, and Anthony Joshua holds the WBA, IBF and IBO.
Kuzmin believes the division is still very much wide open without a true leader out there.
"You can talk about the current world champions: Joshua, Wilder, Parker," Kuzmin told reporters when asked about the strongest heavyweights.
" I do not see a clear leader in the heavyweight division. Some like a Mike Tyson, I have not seen it yet. The difference between, that depends on which champion I will go against. When there will be an opportunity, the the goal for me is to become a mandatory challenger first, and then a champion."
"For next year we devised a plan to become a mandatory challenger, and everything depends on the organizations and not just my desire to box for the title."
In the fight with Mansour, the WBC International world title will be at stake.
"Mansur is assertive, despite him being 45 years old, he is durable, constantly presses forward, throws a lot of punches. The fight will not be easy - but I'm ready. Of course, I plan to use the difference in size, all methods are good for winning. I'm counting on my speed and youth, but I do not underestimate my opponent, although I consider my chances of victory to be great," Kuzmin said.
Initially, the Russian was set to fight former WBA "regular" champion Lucas Browne, who went in another direction.
"Browne... when you get ready for the fight, you're looking at any outcome ... Now Browne is out, now Mansour is in, we're ready. Of course, I wanted to fight with Brown, but ... Mansour did not refuse and accepted our challenge," Kuzmin said.