Former WBO junior middleweight world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith is set to enter enemy territory. Smith, from Liverpool, England, will battle undefeated Russian contender Magomed Kurbanov for the vacant WBO International junior middleweight title Friday at KRK Uralets in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Smith-Kurbanov will headline a scheduled five-fight card streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ starting at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT.
Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) held the WBO junior middleweight world title from 2015-2016 before losing to Canelo Alvarez via ninth-round stoppage. He is 6-1 since the Alvarez fight, including two wins over current middleweight contender Liam Williams. Smith is riding a three-bout winning streak since his latest world title challenge, a game 2018 decision loss to Jaime Munguia. Kurbanov (21-0, 13 KOs) is a six-year pro who has held the WBO International junior middleweight title twice before. His most notable victory came in November 2019, when he outlasted longtime contender Diego Chaves over 12 rounds. Kurbanov went 3-0 in 2020, including a decision win over Ismail Iliev.
Welterweight contender Eduard Skavynskyi (13-0, 7 KOs), who was born in Ukraine and now resides in Yekaterinburg, will fight former world title challenger Joel Julio (39-5, 33 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
In a 10-round showdown for the vacant WBO European junior featherweight belt, Evgenii Liashkov (8-1, 2 KOs) will go for his ninth consecutive victory against Mukhammad Shekhov (8-0-1, 3 KOs), a one-time amateur standout for his native Uzbekistan.
Enriko Gogokhia (12-0, 7 KOs), a former professional kickboxing standout from the nation of Georgia, will look to extend his knockout streak to five against Gustavo David Vittori (24-7-1, 12 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight contest.
Southpaw boxer-puncher Zafar Parpiev (9-2, 2 KOs), who is coming off a December knockout win over the previously undefeated Turat Osmonov, will fight Filipino veteran Alphoe Dagayloan (14-4-6, 5 KOs) in an eight-rounder at junior bantamweight.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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