MMA star Andrei Arlovski, the former UFC heavyweight champion from Belarus, has been training for a boxing career under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach. Arlovski, who has an MMA bout July 19, likely will make his professional boxing debut Sept. 13 (HBO PPV) in the opening fight on the Casamayor-Marquez card in Las Vegas, according to Golden Boy.
Following in the path of guys like Jens Pulver and Chris Lytle, Arlovski is taking the opportunity to bring his striking to the world of boxing. The difference, however, will be that this is the most high-profile crossover fight that mixed martial arts fans have ever seen. Arlovski possesses great hands and power, and under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, one of boxing’s most legendary trainers, he could prove to be a force in the boxing ring. Arlovski’s chin has been questioned in the past, but MMA is a different game with smaller gloves. Boxing will be a totally different story.
It’s also interesting to note that there has long been talk that MMA and boxing have no crossover appeal. I have a feeling that this could change all that. Arlovski is a well-known name in MMA and many fans will want to tune in specifically to see how he does on the undercard. If they are exposed to some great boxing as a result, then that can only help the sport of boxing as a whole. It’s great for MMA too, as Arlovski will be talked about as a former UFC champion and MMA star, so he will be bringing the sport to the forefront. Solid work on all sides to get a big-time MMA fighter into the sport of boxing. It will pay dividends for both sports.