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
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