Hard-hitting heavyweights Magomed Abdusalamov and Mike Perez have been matched on the undercard of the HBO-televised Nov. 2 clash between WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and Curtis “Showtime” Stevens on HBO from the Theatre in New York’s Madison Square Garden, the handlers of both fighters announced on Thursday.
“We’re very excited to announce this terrific clash of these two undefeated, hard-punching heavyweights. The fans in the arena and those watching on HBO are the true winners, as the winner of this fight will move toward the top of the heavyweight division,” said Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, who guides Golovkin.
“Perez is a fighter that we think very highly of, and Abdusalamov has proven himself one of the biggest punchers in the heavyweight division. Both of these outstanding fighters are taking a big risk in putting their undefeated records on the line in order to prove themselves in their HBO debut.”
A 32-year-old Russian southpaw who resides in Hallandale, Fla., Abdusalamov (18-0, 18 knockouts) has stopped 11 of his opponents in the first round, with his longest fight ending in the fifth.
“I strongly believe that ‘Mago’ Magomed Abdusalamov will bring back to the fans the heavyweight excitement of old times,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Abdusalamov’s promoter.
In his last fight in April, Abdusalamov stopped Sebastian Ignacio Ceballos in 61 seconds. Prior to that, he scored a fifth-round knockout over Victor Bisbal (21-2, 15 KOs), ending Bisbal’s winning streak of 16 straight fights, including 11 knockouts. That fight followed a second-round knockout of Jameel McCline.
“I want to thank my team for setting up this opportunity,” said Abdusalamov. “I’m looking forward to fighting a decorated fighter like Mike Perez in Madison Square Garden.”
A Cuban-born 27-year-old who resides in Cork, Ireland, Perez (19-0, 12 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision over Travis Walker on the undercard of RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko’s win over Francesco Pianeta.
“Fighting at Madison Square Garden is a dream come true for me. ‘Mago’ is a very strong heavyweight,” said Perez. “But I’ve already started my training in Big Bear, Calif., and I will win this fight and put on a very strong performance on HBO.”
In the main event, Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) will pursue his 15th straight knockout win against Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs), a 28-year-old Brooklyn native who is coming off a first-round stoppage of Saul Roman last month after having earned an eight-round unanimous decision over Derrick Findley in April at The Garden.
Golovkin was last in the ring for a third-round knockout of Matthew Macklin, which followed a third-round stoppage of Japanese contender Nobuhiro Ishida and a bloody, seventh-round knockout of Gabriel Rosado, all this year.
Photo by Lars Baron-Gettyimages