On March 10th, Top Rank Boxing signed 33 year old Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) to a promotional contract, and he will be participating in a tournament to determine who will be the WBO light heavyweight champion.
Vlasov will fight Umar Salamov (25-1, 19 KOs) in the summer, and the winner will fight for the WBO title against Joe Smith Jr. or Sullivan Barrera. Vlasov is a 15 year veteran who has competed in the super middleweight and cruiserweight divisions and has split two bouts with world title contender Isaac Chilemba. His win over Chilemba came last July, which put him in position to be part of this tournament. Vlasov is eager to get in the ring to face Salamov and potentially be a world champion.
“I am very excited to be part of the four-way tournament for the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title,” Vlasov said. “Having fought professionally for 15 years in three different weight divisions against some of the world’s top fighters, I now believe that I am at the top of my game. I am ready to prove to the light heavyweight division that I have what it takes to become the WBO world champion.”
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is excited about the signing of Vlasov and the tournament which will be held under his promotional banner.
“Maxim deserves the opportunity to compete at the highest level, and we are thrilled to add him to our deep light heavyweight stable,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “His fight against Salamov is one that I can’t wait to see.”
“It is very exciting for Maxim and our team to have signed a promotional agreement with Top Rank. The backing and support from a world leader in the boxing industry will give Maxim the exposure globally that he needs to become a star,” said Oleg Bogdanov, Vlasov’s manager. “He is a real dark horse that has experience against world-class fighters in three weight classes.”
More details about the light heavyweight tournament will come in the next few weeks.