Maxim Vlasov signs with Top Rank, will face Umar Salamov next
Light heavyweight contender Maxim Vlasov has signed a long-term promotional deal with Top Rank, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.
Vlasov is scheduled to face countryman Umar Salamov, who also signed a deal with Top Rank, this summer as part of a four-man tournament to determine who will claim the vacant WBO light heavyweight title. The other semi-final bout will feature Eleider Alvarez against Joe Smith.
Vlasov (45-3, 26 knockouts), who resides in Samara, Russia, last fought on November 30, defeating Emmanuel Martey over ten one-sided rounds. In his previous fight on July 20, Vlasov defeated Isaac Chilemba by unanimous decision. The fight was a rematch of their February 2011 clash that Chilemba won by decision.
The 33-year-old has won his last three bouts since his unanimous decision loss to Krzysztof Glowacki in November of 2018. Vlasov also dropped a decision to Gilberto Ramirez in January 2015, but does have a knockout victory over 2008 Olympic gold medalist and former cruiserweight contender Rakhim Chakhkiev in December 2016.
Despite having fought in three different weight classes in recent years, Bob Arum believes Vlasov is at his best at 175 pounds.
“Maxim deserves the opportunity to compete at the highest level, and we are thrilled to add him to our deep light heavyweight stable,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “His fight against Salamov is one that I can’t wait to see.”
“I want to thank Mr. Bob Arum for believing in me and signing me to a long-term promotional agreement,” said Vlasov, who is managed by Oleg Bogdanov. “I am very excited to be part of the four-way tournament for the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title. Having fought professionally for 15 years in three different weight divisions against some of the world’s top fighters, I now believe that I am at the top of my game. I am ready to prove to the light heavyweight division that I have what it takes to become the WBO world champion.”
It has not yet been announced yet whether the Vlasov-Salamov will take place in the United States or Russia, or if it will be placed on the same card as the Alvarez-Smith fight.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing