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Ievgen Khytrov making ‘permanent move’ to 168 pounds says Lou Di Bella, faces Gabriel Pham on UFC Fight Pass

Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Ievgen Khytrov hopes that a move up in weight will translate to an opportunity to fight for a world title.

The Brooklyn-based Ukrainian will face once-beaten Gabriel Pham Thursday night at the Convention Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. The eight-round super middleweight bout will stream live on UFC Fight Pass (8:30 p.m. ET/ 5:30 p.m. PT) on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Khytrov (18-2, 15 knockouts) has not fought since knocking out Malcolm McAllister on Nov. 9. His three most recent bouts were part of The Contender series, one of which was a loss to eventual winner and world title challenger Brandon Adams.

After recent struggles to make 160 pounds, promoter Lou DiBella believes Khytrov will be at his best as a super middleweight.

“Moving up to 168 pounds is a permanent move,” DiBella told The Ring Wednesday morning. “It was a struggle for him to make weight. He made a lot of fans from the show. He was expected to win, but making weight was an issue.

“Khytrov has to win this fight against Pham, who is trained by ‘China’ Rivas, who also trains Tevin Farmer. Khytrov is not fighting a walkover. We want to see how strong he is. This fight could tell us a lot about how he will be moved. He was always able to compete at 160 pounds, and he’s also dangerous in every fight.”

Pham (11-1, 5 KOs) defeated Jaba Khositashvili by unanimous decision on June 20 in his hometown of Atlantic City. He has won his last five bouts.

In the co-feature, middleweight Eric Walker will square off against Jose Antonio Abreu in an eight-round bout.

Walker (18-2, 8 KOs), who resides in Plaquemine, Louisiana, also participated in The Contender series and suffered defeat to Brandon Adams. He last fought on Nov. 9, defeating Michael Moore by unanimous decision.

The 36-year-old Walker made his pro debut in 2013 after spending several years in prison for armed robbery. He picked up boxing in prison, fighting over 60 times before his release.

“Eric made a lot of fans from the show,” said DiBella.

Abreu (14-5, 8 KOs), who resides in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, defeated Wesley Tucker by unanimous decision on July 6. The win snapped a four-bout losing streak.

Welterweight Ivan Golub (16-1, 12 KOs), who is also from the Ukraine and now resides in Brooklyn, will face Brazil’s Joaquim Carneiro (25-10, 23 KOs) in an eight-round bout.

Fringe lightweight contender Bill Richardson (17-2-4, 8 KOs), who resides in nearby Pittsburgh, will square off against Tampa’s Charlie Serrano (16-4-2 1 NC, 5 KOs) in an eight-round bout.

Junior welterweight Victor Padilla (4-0, 4 KOs) of Berlin, New Jersey will face Ghana’s Benjamin Borteye (4-7, 4 KOs) in a four-round bout.


Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing



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