Heavyweight Mike Perez, whose brutal 10-round unanimous decision on Nov. 2 left Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov in a medically induced coma until earlier this week, will return to the ring on Jan. 18 against Carlos Takam on the undercard of a main event featuring former IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute against light heavyweight ex-beltholder Jean Pascal at Bell Centre in Montreal.
Perez will be donating a portion of his purse to Abdusalamov’s family and will honor him in the ring by having “Mago’s” name stitched on his trunks. Fans can also make donations to Abdusalamov and his family through www.Ring10Ny.com.
“I’m excited to return to training with my coach, Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, Calif.,” said Perez (20-0, 12 knockouts), a 28-year-old former Cuban amateur now living in Ireland. Perez fought Abdusalamov (18-0, 18 KOs) in an HBO-televised bout at Madison Square Garden.
“My thoughts since Nov. 2 have been with ‘Mago’ and his family and I pray he makes a full recovery. Takam is a very strong heavyweight with a great record, but I’ll be fully prepared to be successful on Jan. 18.”
On Monday, Nathan Lewkowicz, said that the 32-year-old Abdusalamov’s condition had improved to the point where he was removed from the intensive care unit into a main room at New York’s St. Luke’s Hospital. Abdusalamov had been returned to life support last month following a rise in temprature after having been briefly awakened from his medically induced coma and taken off the respirator.
Doctors had elected to wake up Abdusalamov after he began “to respond positively” following surgery and being placed in the coma as a result of a blood clot that had formed in his brain during his fight with Perez. Abdusalamov had to have emergency surgery to remove the blood clot.
“We’re thrilled to bring Mike back to the ring and back on HBO so quickly following his win on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden,” said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions. “Mike’s battle with Magomed Abdusalamov was a highly–competitive bout, and in light of Mago’s injuries from that fight, Mike will be dedicating this upcoming bout to him.”
A native of Cameroon who is fighting out of Noisy-le-Grand, France, Takam, 33, is 28-1 with 22 knockouts.
Takam has won 10 straight fights, eight of them by knockout since falling by unanimous decision to Gregory Tony in June of 2009. Perez stopped Tony in the first round in May of 2011.
“I’m excited that my fight will be on HBO,” said Takam. “I have a lot of respect for Perez, but on Jan. 18, I will prove that I can beat him in the ring.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com