Despite shouting from the hilltops for a chance to challenge Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for his 168-pound undisputed title, Christian Mbilli will instead take on England’s Mark Heffron on May 25.

Mbilli (26-0, 22 KOs) will make his first appearance in a co-promotional deal with Top Rank and Eye of the Tiger, headlining the ESPN+ televised card at Centre Gervais Auto in Shawinigan, Quebec. France’s Mbilli clinched a deal with Top Rank’s Bob Arum after his destructive sixth-round retirement of courageous Australian Rohan Murdock on the Artur BeterbievCallum Smith undercard in January.

“I’m expecting Mark to come and do his best, and we did a big show for the Quebec fans,” Mbilli told BoxingScene. “He’s a good opponent, he’s dangerous. I have to be careful. I do all my work one step at a time. For me, Mark Heffron is another step for my career. I really have to stay focused because the goal is to have a big fight with Canelo or another big name after this fight. That’s why I have to be focused on Mark and why I have to have a big victory and look spectacular.”

The United Kingdom’s Heffron (30-3-1, 24 KOs) has had two unsuccessful attempts at the British middleweight title, against Liam Williams and Denzel Bentley. However, he claimed the Lonsdale Belt, along with the Commonwealth title, at super middleweight with a fifth-round knockout over Lennox Clark almost two years ago. Heffron, 32, would lose those same two titles to Jack Cullen 14 months later but bounced back with a second-round knockout victory over little-known journeyman Serhii Ksendzov in February.

“For me, all of my fights I treat like a world championship fight,” Mbilli said. “I’ll be a thousand percent. I’ll be going there to have a big victory. I want it to be a spectacular performance.”

The Montreal-based Mbilli, 28, will continue his run in Canada with his 14th professional fight in the country. He has a chance next month in Shawinigan to make it three knockout wins in three fights.

“They are big fans of boxing in the U.K., and I hope a lot of British people are going to see the fight,” Mbillia said. “I’m going to make sure after the fight that everyone is going to call me the next champion.”

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