Arslanbek Makhmudov knows he can ill afford any slip ups at this stage of his career.
The heavyweight prospect will put his NABF title on the line against former world title challenger Carlos Takam in a 10-round scheduled contest at the Montreal Casino, Montreal on Friday.
“It’s very tough for me,” Makhmudov (14-0, 14 knockouts) told The Ring. “He’s a good boxer but I am ready for any situation. It’s a very good step for me to get closer to my goal of a world title.”
The 33-year-old, who spent 10-days in New Jersey sparring the likes of Joey Dawejko and Joe Cusumano, feels Takam should be a good learning curve.
“He’s experienced, he’s fought top guys like [Anthony] Joshua, [Alexander] Povetkin, even last fight, he fought Joe Joyce,” said the Russian-born Canada-based fighter. “[He has] good defense, he’s very good technical [boxer.] It’s a good challenge for me to show my technique and defense but I believe in my technique and defense. I’m here to destroy everyone.”
That has led to comparisons being drawn between Makhmudov and unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.
“I’m very happy when people say that,” he said smiling. “He’s like my big-brother, he helps me a lot, he gives me advice on many things, I really appreciate that. I respect Artur, I respect his boxing skills. For me, he is the best boxer.”
If Makhmudov can prove he has as much in common with Beterbiev inside the ring he could be a nightmare for even the top fighters in the division.
“You have three, four guys,” he said of his hitlist. “I’d like to fight Joshua. You have Fury, who is the WBC champ, I’d like to fight him also. You have Usyk has all the [other] belts and you have [Deontay] Wilder, a good boxer, a good name, why not? Let’s go. I’d like to fight Fury and Joshua; they have a good name and are good boxers.”
His trainer Mark Ramsay is pleased with the big heavyweights work ethic and feels that will give him an edge as he zero’s in on a world title.
“Every single decision he makes in his life – a little bit like Artur Beterbiev does – is an orientation to performance: How he sleeps, what he eats, I don’t have to doublecheck anything, he is very serious in the gym,” said Ramsay.
“I think this is the perfect opponent for where he is right now in terms of what we want to show and what we work on in the gym. We don’t expect a fast knockout but with that type of power it happens sometimes. There is a distance between what he has faced and where we want to go. I don’t want to take four steps at a time, I want him to do the proper fights to make sure not only we challenge for the world title but we are going to win and stay there.”
Takam (39-6-1, 28 KOs) represented his homeland of Cameroon at the 2002 Olympics and turned pro in France three years later. He won his first 18 bouts before losing to Gregory Tony (UD 8). On his return, Takam bested three former world title challengers: Frans Botha (TKO 11), Michael Grant (TKO 8) and Tony Thompson (UD 12).
However, Takam suffered setbacks to Alexander Povetkin (KO 10) and Joseph Parker (UD 12). And after stepping in at 12 days’ notice to face then-IBF/ WBA titleholder Anthony Joshua, the aggressive veteran was stopped in 10. A defeat to Derek Chisora (TKO 8) was followed by four straight wins, but he lost again to Joe Joyce (TKO 6).
Makhmudov-Takam, plus undercard fights, will be shown on ESPN+. The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT.
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