Home Boxing News Potential IBF Title Fight puts Kiwi Slugger Mikhailovich in Box Seat

Potential IBF Title Fight puts Kiwi Slugger Mikhailovich in Box Seat

The fortunes of Kiwi contender Andrei Mikhailovich have received another significant boost following the collapse of negotiations over a fight for the vacant IBF world middleweight title between Australian Michael Zerafa and Brazilian Esquiva Falcao.

The IBF had ordered its top two contenders Zerefa (31-4) and Falcao (30-0) to fight for the title vacated by the legendary Kazakh Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.

However, negotiations over the title fight collapsed spectacularly when Zerefa’s management announced via an email sent to the IBF and copied to over 100 global boxing promoters that the Australian would instead be “pursuing other options”.

That option appears to be a showdown with Erislandy Lara for the WBA middleweight title.

Zerefa’s withdrawal means the IBF must now find a new opponent for the undefeated Falcao – likely to be third-ranked German Vincenzo Gualtieri (20-0-1).

Should that fight be locked in, the fifth-ranked Mikhailovich would all but be assured of a fight for the mandatory challenger spot against another German, Denis Radovan (16-0-1), who sits a place above him in the rankings.

“Andrei will be fighting for the IBF middleweight world title very, very soon,” his promoter Dean Lonergan of D+L Events said.

The hard-hitting Kiwi-Russian takes on undefeated Venezuelan Edisson Saltarin at Fight For Life on April 27 at Auckland’s Eventfinda Stadium.

“Andrei is going to KO Saltarin and his next fight will then be to secure the mandatory challenger spot for the IBF title,” Lonergan said.

“We’ve seen what happens with Joseph Parker and David Light when a quality Kiwi boxer gets in that position,” Lonergan said.

“They come up against more fancied fighters and shock the world by winning and winning well. Andrei will be exactly the same – he’s got the talent and he’s got the ruthless mindset required to beat anyone in the middleweight division.”

Mikhailovich welcomed the news but insisted it wasn’t something he was giving any thought.

“My focus is 100 per cent on Edisson Saltarin and getting the job done at Fight For Life on April 27,” Mikhailovich said.

“Saltarin is a dangerous fighter. He’s knocked out 14 of his 16 opponents and hasn’t been beaten, so he’s the real deal. But he’s never been in the ring with anyone like me. I’m going to take him out.”

The Burger King presents I Am Hope Fight For Life in Association with Build People takes place at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland on Thursday April 27.

Tickets and Corporate Tables can be booked at eventfinda.co.nz