Salita Promotions has made a significant late addition to the televised lineup of “Big Time Boxing USA” fights this Thursday night (May 23), as world-class super middleweight Ali Akhmedov will take on always-tough Encarnacion “Demoledor” Diaz in a 10-round bout from Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit and live on premier global sports platform DAZN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

Akhmedov (20-1, 15 KOs), of Venice, California, via Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Diaz (18-4, 11 KOs) of San Jose, Costa Rica via Nicaragua, will meet in support of top American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin Jr.’s (22-2, 14 KOs) 10-round main event battle against former U.S. Olympian Devin Vargas (22-10, 9 KOs) and an intriguing eight-round co-feature between undefeated former national amateur champion Joshua James Pagan (9-0, 4 KOs) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and fellow undefeated prospect Roger Hilley (13-0, 8 KOs) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Junior NABF Super Lightweight Championship.

Promoted by GGG Promotions, Akhmedov’s biggest career win so far came in late 2022, as he defeated veteran Gabriel Rosado for the IBF North American and WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championships by a dominant 10-round decision at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, on the undercard of his hero and countryman, Gennady Golovkin’s, final fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Akhmedov’s most recent ring appearance was a quick second-round knockout of Venezuela’s then 26-3-1 Carlos Rivero in April of this year.

Making the first US ring appearance of his nearly eight-year pro career, Diaz will already be having his third fight this year. In January, he decisioned Edwin Vargas over eight rounds, and then in March, he needed just two rounds to dispatch Nicaragua’s Celso Ocampo. After losing his pro debut, Diaz has won 18 of his next 21 contests, beginning in the welterweight division and going as high as a light heavyweight.

“This is an excellent addition to an already packed night of boxing,” said event promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Thanks to GGG and Tom Loeffler for their cooperation in making it happen for the fans in attendance and around the world. The addition of this fight just further demonstrates our willingness, and fulfills my personal promise, to work with all promoters to make the best and most important fights in boxing. I believe this is best for the fighters’ careers and for the sport of boxing. This week’s card is the biggest and best BIG TIME BOXING USA event yet!”

True to BIG TIME BOXING’s emerging format, several local prospects will appear in the night’s supporting televised bouts, including Detroit’s undefeated “Hitman 2.0” Da’Velle Smith (8-0, 6 KOs).  

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