Unbeaten Montreal-based Russian Heavyweight giant Arslanbek Makhmudov advanced to 18-0(17) today on the big Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou card in Saudi Arabia. Facing late sub, former cruiserweight Junior Anthony Wright of Illinois, the 34 year old scored a brutally quick stoppage win.
Cracking the much smaller, 37 year old Wright with a tasty right/left hand combination to the head, Makhmudov scored a heavy knockdown. Somehow, Wright got back up before the count of 10. But Makhmudov ended matters courtesy of a big right hand that froze Wright on the spot, the stricken fighter clearly out on his feet.
This prompted the third man to dive in and call a halt to the one-sided match up. Time was 2:10. Makhmudov needs far sterner tests. Wright, now 20-5-1(17) gave it a go but he was way out of his depth.
Makhmudov could be a real force to be reckoned with in the future, but there are question marks next to the Russian “Lion’s” name, as there are with any relatively untested fighter. Carlos Takam managed to take Makhmudov the distance last year, this Makhmudov’s hardest pro fight by far so far.
It would be great to see Makhmudov in there with a Martin Bakole, a Daniel Dubois, a Zhilei Zhang, a Joe Joyce, even a Derek Chisora. But for now, the 6’5-inch giant from Russia is certainly an exciting big man to keep a firm eye on.
34 is not too far an advanced age for a heavyweight contender these days, but Makhmudov does need to up the quality of his opposition sooner rather than later.
Can Makhmudov go all the way to the top, to the winning of a heavyweight title? You try and tell Makhmudov he can’t do it.