Thursday, March 23, 2023  |


Abel Sanchez: ‘Michel Soro is right on time, his time!’

Junior middleweight contender Michel Soro

It was looking like junior middleweight Michel Soro would be gloving up next against fellow contender Brian Castano.

Then Castano had second thoughts and decided he’d rather not dance with Soro (ranked No. 8 at 154 pounds by He faced that dance partner before, in July 2017, and it was a contest that was way too close for comfort.

Castano (ranked No. 5 by snagged a split decision win and, afterward, wanted to go in another direction.

So the Frenchman Soro (33-2, 22 knockouts) will seek another scrap: Magomed Kurbanov (17-0, 11 KOs), a 23-year-od Russian.

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Confession: I hadn’t heard of this dude and, in fact, took to Twitter to crowd-source some intel.

What do people know about this Kurbanov, who I see is ranked No. 3, behind the usually vacant Nos. 1 and 2 by the IBF?

I had a bite from a a sort of unexpected source. Soro’s trainer Abel Sanchez checked in.

“Why you asking about Kurbanov?”

“Because the IBF has him number three and he’s a mystery to me.”

“Gotcha,” Sanchez replied.

“I was wondering why you were talking about Kurbanov because he was one of the choices they had given me, when they started to feel Castano was making excuses and didn’t want to fight Soro again,” Sanchez relayed to me on Wednesday.

Earlier it had been announced that Soro, 31, would be fighting Kurbanov in Marseille, France, on July 20, for a “regular” crown (that we at do not recognize) that Castano had renounced.

So, Abel, your thoughts…What is your official scouting report on the Russian?

“Undefeated but too young,” Sanchez shared. “I had a (WBO junior middleweight) champion, Zaurbek Baysangurov fight Soro early in his career (in May 2012). We beat him because of his inexperience, so it’s a replay. Soro is right on time, his time! My guy is fighting for the title, so whomever is there on July 20, we will have to beat. That is the route to hopefully having him in the mix with all of these great 154-pounders here in the States!”

Look for yourself: Here is some Kurbanov from his second to last fight, in Oct. 2018, when he defeated Juan Carlos Rodriguez Patino via an extremely wide unanimous decision.



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