Arslanbek Makhmudov faces Junior Fa in the co-feature

Christian Mbilli’s first fight since signing with Top Rank earlier this month won’t be the step up we wanted. Eye of the Tiger Management and Top Rank announced today that Mbilli will meet Mark Heffron atop a May 25th card in Quebec that also features Arslanbek Makhmudov’s attempted comeback against Junior Fa.

Mbilli (26-0, 22 KO) beat the brakes off of Rohan Murdock this past January, four months after doing the same to Demond Nicholson. Last March’s gutsy win over Carlos Gongora really should have carried him past this level of competition, but instead it’s back to the middle of the pack with Heffron (30-3-1, 24 KO), who’s less than a year removed from a three-round mauling at the hands of Jack Cullen.

As I said before, though, both EotT and Top Rank are short on quality super middleweights, or at least ones they’d be willing to pit against Mbilli. At least he’s making another quick-by-modern-standards four-month turnaround.

Christian Mbilli: “No matter where he comes from and who he is, my opponent will have to arrive ready because on May 25th, I will once again demonstrate why I belong with the elite of the super-middleweights. Mark Heffron is just another boxer on my path. I respect him, but I won’t be gentle with him, just like with the others. I am convinced that we will deliver quite a fight in Shawinigan, but victory is the only option for me!”

Makhmudov (18-1, 17 KO) got pretty thoroughly exposed last December by Agit Kabayel, who tore him apart with body shots en route to a fourth-round finish. He meets a kindred spirit in Fa (20-3, 11 KO), once considered New Zealand’s other solid heavyweight before a 1-3 skid saw him fall to Joseph Parker, Lucas Browne, and Frank Sanchez. Honestly, I don’t mind the matchmaking here; nothing wrong with a lower-level fight as long as both fighters are on that same lower level.

Arslanbek “The Lion” Makhmudov: Honestly, I am happy. It’s good work on the part of my team to already secure a new big fight, and especially a fight that will be excellent. I’ve already faced him in a very close fight that he won when we were amateurs, so I am more than determined to avenge that defeat.”

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