Arslanbek Makhmudov, an undefeated heavyweight contender, is emerging as one of the most sought-after names in the world of boxing. With a pristine record of 18 wins (17 by knockouts) and zero losses, this powerhouse has his sights set on the big prize: a title shot. And it seems Makhmudov is particularly interested in one name—Tyson Fury.
This intrigue was magnified by Makhmudov’s recent display of sheer power and technique in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he outclassed Junior Anthony Wright in the opening round. The bout, part of the undercard for the much-anticipated Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou match, further amplified Makhmudov’s reputation.
Though he has dedicated six years to his professional career, the call from several quarters is clear: Makhmudov needs to face more formidable opponents. His intimidating physique, standing tall at 6’5″, and unparalleled punching prowess seem to have deterred many from stepping into the ring against him.
The ticking clock, however, cannot be ignored. At the age of 34, Makhmudov finds himself in a precarious position. Although he’s faced opponents such as Raphael Akpejiori, Michael Wallisch, and Pavel Sour, these matches may be more suited to an emerging fighter rather than someone of Makhmudov’s experience and age.
The complex dynamics of the boxing industry come into play here. Top Rank, the entity responsible for promoting Makhmudov, is at a crossroads. On one hand, they have the option of pairing him against the up-and-coming Jared Anderson. But many insiders believe that Makhmudov would easily dismantle Anderson, a scenario that could jeopardize Top Rank’s investments in the budding star.
Given these intricacies, the onus falls on Top Rank to strategically navigate Makhmudov’s career trajectory. If marquee matchups against the likes of Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk are challenging to secure, then perhaps a contest against WBA secondary belt holder Mahmoud Charr might be a feasible alternative.
Regardless of these industry intricacies, Makhmudov’s core strength, his punching power, remains undisputed. Even if he were to be sidelined by heavyweights like Fury or Usyk, this innate skill ensures he remains a significant threat in the division.
However, the question remains: Why is Makhmudov so focused on a matchup with Tyson Fury?
In an in-depth discussion with Boxing King Media, Makhmudov shed light on his motivations. “Honestly, I like Tyson Fury because he started talking s**t about me. What’s his name? You don’t have to say that. If he’s a man, let him tell me to my face then. He will see what I do. It’s my personal stuff. You cannot touch that. Arslan means Lion, and the lion comes for you. He will eat you one day. You can’t make a joke about your name or country. It’s untouchable stuff. About boxing, you can say, ‘I’ll destroy.’ It’s your opinion, but not the personal stuff,
The art of verbal sparring is not uncommon in boxing. Yet, as Makhmudov underscores, there exists a distinction between sports-centric banter and personal affronts. It appears that Fury’s comments have struck a personal chord with the heavyweight contender.
Arslanbek Makhmudov, with his sights firmly set on the championship, is awaiting his next challenge. Whether that will bring him face-to-face with Tyson Fury is a matter of speculation. But one thing is indisputable: Makhmudov’s journey is one of determination, honor, and unyielding focus on the ultimate prize.