Unbeaten Russian junior welterweight contender Khabib Allakhverdiev (17-0, 8 knockouts) will likely face his trial-by-fire test later this year in the form of former champion Joan Guzman (33-0-1, 20 KOs), according to Allakhverdiev’s manager, Vlad Hrunov.
Hrunov, who also manages WBA heavyweight titleholder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Alexander Povetkin, says that the two teams are in discussions to make the fight, with November 17 being a target date. Hrunov says he hopes to host the bout himself in Russia.
The bout was ordered by the WBA, who ruled that the No. 2-rated Guzman and No. 4-rated Allakhverdiev are the two highest available ranked fighters. The winner be next in line to face WBA titleholder Danny Garcia, who is also THE RING junior welterweight champion.
Guzman’s manager, Jose Nunez, confirmed that the two are in talks to meet later this year.
“From what we have seen in Khabib’s videos, we know he’s very tough and has some skill,” Nunez tells THE RING. “But we see a lot of mistakes and we are going to capitalize on them. Guzman is very smart with a load of experience and there’s nothing that Khabib has in his arsenal that Guzman hasn’t seen. Guzman has been training with southpaws for six months already so his shots are coming out naturally.”
Emails requesting comment from the WBA were not immediately returned.
The 29-year-old southpaw Allakhverdiev, from Derbent, Russia, is rated No. 7 by THE RING at 140 pounds and has already defeated former unified lightweight champion Nate Campbell and former title challenger Kaizer Mabuza. Allakhverdiev has shown that he is comfortable fighting outside of his country, having fought nearly half of his career in the United States.
Guzman, 36, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but now living in Brooklyn, N.Y., has held title belts at 122 and 130, but is seeking to regain his former status after well-publicized struggles with the scale. After a seven-year knockout drought, Guzman has stopped his last three opponents at 140 pounds.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.
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