Arlovski To Make April 11 Boxing Debut


Andrei Arlovski has more fight left in him.

The Affliction heavyweight star plans to make his professional boxing debut on the undercard of the Golden Boy-promoted Paul Williams-Winky Wright middleweight card on April 11 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. An opponent for the four-round bout has yet to be determined.

ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael was the first to report on the proposed bout, which the fighter’s team plans as a precursor to Arlovski’s next MMA bout with Affliction in June or July.

“We’re not switching gears to boxing,” Arlovski’s manager Leo Khorlinsky told Sherdog.com on Friday. “MMA is still our priority. Our commitment to Affliction is still a number-one priority and we’re looking forward to fighting on their next event.”

Khorlinsky said Affliction representatives have been notified of the offer, and Arlovski’s camp has made preparations for back-to-back training cycles for both bouts.

Arlovski (15-6), who turns 30 on Feb. 21, was knocked out by No. 1 world-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in the first round at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” on Jan. 24 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. By all accounts, the Belarusian striker acquitted himself well in the bout’s opening moments though, frustrating the usually unflappable Emelianenko with straight punches and crisp footwork. However, Emelianenko (29-1) capitalized on Arlovski’s overzealousness with a crushing overhead right mid-air when the Belarusian sprang at him with a flying knee attempt.

Arlovski, a former UFC heavyweight champion, has shown an aptitude for boxing since he began training in the discipline in 2004 with Chicago-based trainer Mike Garcia, of JABB Boxing. Arlovski has also studied off and on under world-renowned trainer Freddie Roach for his last five MMA bouts, and the boxing guru has commented on numerous occasions that his protégé has the potential to be competitive in boxing’s heavyweight ranks.

Khorlinsky said the proposed bout was offered following the Jan. 24 fight with Emelianenko. Arlovski signed an multi-fight boxing contract with Golden Boy last July, and the Oscar De La Hoya helmed organization is also a promotional partner with Affliction, along with the Trump Organization and M-1 Global.

Arlovski will begin his two-month training camp with Roach, Garcia and others when he returns to the U.S. on Feb. 10 from Minsk, Belarus, where the fighter is currently visiting his mother.

Khorlinsky said the timing for the bout couldn’t be any better for Arlovski’s mental recovery.

“If anything, he’s even more motivated right now because he felt very comfortable in the last fight,” said Khorlinksy. “He made a mistake and he knows that. What could be a better exercise for your mind than to get back to work and do what you love?”

The former Sambo champion agreed with his manager’s assessment.

“I always wanted to box,” Arlovski relayed to Sherdog.com through his manager on Friday. “I’ve always seen boxing as a complement to my MMA career and training, so why not take this opportunity while I can.”

Khorlinsky shrugged off concerns that Arlovski could sustain an injury before or during the contest that could prevent his participation on Affliction’s next card.

“What if Andrei gets injured training for the fight? This is the risk that fighters always have to take,” said Khorlinsky. “I personally think Andrei should do what makes him happy and what he feels strongly about. He feels strongly about the fact that he doesn’t want to slow down. He wants to continue to improve his boxing abilities, so there’s no reason for him to sit around and do nothing.”

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