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With his March 18 promotion, Anatoly Suryanov wants to mix what he calls “hardcore boxing” with what he believes is the future of the sport.

Taking place at The Agenda in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, the show will feature a crossroads heavyweight fight between Lucas Brown and Jarrell Miller, co-hosted by former title challengers Jono Carroll and Miguel Mariaga. Fight on the main. event.

If Suryanov can draft another match for this event, he’ll add a mixed martial arts legend or two to the card.

The Hardcore FC League’s Suryanov, which has promoted 50 MMA shows in Russia since its inception in 2021, last week followed former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who left the MMA League to pursue other opportunities on the free market. Suryanov said he has yet to receive a response for his bout with 3-fight Pro Cruiserweight Soslan Asbarov, who is also the Bare Knuckle Champion of Suryanov’s company. .

Suryanov said he has been in touch with Ngannou’s team, having put up a bout offer through Instagram, but believes acquiring combat sports’ biggest free agent is worth the investment.

“This is going to be the biggest promotion for boxing’s newest promotion as we are going to revolutionize the boxing industry in the next five years.”

Lucas Brown after his KO victory over Junior Fa. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Sulyanov’s vision for combat sports centers around bringing the theatricality and production values ​​of MMA events to boxing. Boxing has made him one of the sport’s biggest draws, even though social his media his influencers like Jake Paul and his KSI are more supporting characters than competitors. Citing his seven YouTube channels on Hardcore FC, Sulyanov says he gets 25 million views in a week, mostly from viewers in Eastern Europe.

But while the sport’s purists have mostly scoffed at crossover bouts and influencer fights, Suryanov says the box office success of these attractions cannot be ignored. It points to a crossover fight between legendary Floyd Mayweather Jr. and MMA champion Conor McGregor, with Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. as evidence on the appeal.

“No one wants to watch classic Olympic sports. Suryanov said he also dreams of recreating it in the ring.

That’s not to say there isn’t room for traditional boxing in his card. A front-runner, their reputation had taken a hit after years of failing performance-enhancing drug tests. The 43-year-old Brown, from Perth, Australia, has won two in a row, including a shocking first-round knockout at Junior Fa last June. Meanwhile, his 34-year-old Miller of Brooklyn, N.Y. won his two games in 2022 due to test failures and promotional issues. Out of the ring since 2019.

Brown’s promoter Lou DiBella says the fight will be an attractive matchup given where the two fighters are in their respective careers.

“Good fight. Both of them have their problems and are coming to the end of long careers. It’s considered to be a competitive heavyweight fight and good for Lucas at this point in his career. It’s a matchup,” said DiBella.

The show will feature Antonio Tarver Jr., son of former light heavyweight champion and 10-0 (6 KO) middleweight pro, against a fighter trained by Tarver’s professional rival Roy Jones Jr. Battles will also take place. That fight will likely pave the way for a rematch between Tarver and Jones Jr. as an exhibition, sources say.

Ryan Songalia is a contributor to ESPN, The New York Daily News, Rappler, and The Guardian, and is part of the 2020 Craig Newmark Graduate Journalism Class. [email protected].

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