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Egidijus Kavaliauskas to step up against David Avanesyan in Feb. 16 ESPN co-feature

Fighters Network

One of boxing’s best kept secrets is ready for his close-up.

Egidijus Kavaliauskas, the power-punching prospect promoted by Top Rank and managed by Egis Klimas, will step up and face welterweight contender David Avanesyan on February 16 in Reno, Nevada, sources told The 10-round, 147-pound bout is the ESPN-televised co-feature to the Ray Beltran-Paulus Moses title fight, and the news was first reported by ESPN.

Kavaliauskas, a 29-year-old from Lithuania, has been steadily developed by Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman since his pro debut in 2013. Kavaliauskas (18-0, 15 knockouts) won his last three fights by knockout, but that was against limited opposition.

That won’t be the case in his next fight. Avanesyan (23-2-1, 11 KOs) proved he could fight on the top level in his February 2017 defeat to RING No. 6 welterweight Lamont Peterson. Sure, Avanesyan lost, but he hung with the former champion and dropped a close decision in an action fight that showed off the Russia native’s skillset.

The 29-year-old pressed Peterson and landed plenty of power shots, and he’s sure to test Kavaliauskas, too. That’s the point, with Top Rank ready to see if Kavaliauskas can graduate from prospect to contender status in boxing’s best weight division.

Terence Crawford, also promoted by Top Rank, is moving up to 147 pounds for an April title fight against Jeff Horn, so if Kavaliauskas can impress, he’ll be in position to fight the winner.

Top Rank has high hopes for Kavaliauskas, who trains in Oxnard, California. Now, it’s time to see if “Mean Machine” can swim.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger