Christian Mbilli takes on Ronald Ellis as he waits for bigger opportunities in 2022
Christian Mbilli has passed each test thus far in his young career.
An impressive victory over a solid fighter Saturday night could lead to more opportunities in 2022.
Mbilli will face Ronald Ellis at the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The 10-round bout will headline a six-bout Eye of the Tiger Management card (6:30 p.m. ET/ 3:30 p.m. PT).
Ranked No. 10 by The Ring, Mbilli has defeated modest opposition since turning pro in February 2017. Mbilli had a stellar amateur career that culminated at the 2016 Olympic Games, where he represented France.
In his last bout on September 23, Mbilli (19-0, 18 knockouts), who is originally from Yaounde, Cameroon and now resides in Pornic, France, stopped Ronny Landaeta of Venezuela in round 3. The victory over Landaeta took place five months after Mbilli stopped Mexico’s Jesus Gutierrez Velazquez on a Ring City USA card at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Other notable wins by Mbilli include a knockout over gatekeeper KeAndre Leatherwood and a decision victory over Humberto Gutierrez of Mexico, both of which occurred in 2019.
Mbilli, who is trained by Marc Ramsey, will take a major step-up in opposition against Ellis, who has faced the better opposition between the two. Mbilli believes he is up to the challenge.
“It’s the biggest fight of my career,” said Mbilli at an open workout earlier this week. “Ellis is a really great opponent with a good amateur background in addition to having fought world champions. It’s really important for me to beat him convincingly to get to the next level.
“With this fight, I want to unlock the next level of my career and send a message to the entire division.”
Ellis (18-2-2, 12 KOs), who resides in Lynn, Massachusetts, has not fought since losing by knockout to former WBC super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez on March 13. The loss to Benavidez took place three months after winning by knockout over Matt Korobov after Korobov hurt his ankle and was not able to continue.
The 32-year-old does have a majority-decision victory over Immanuwel Aleem in December 2019 and a split-decision draw against Junior Younan in February 2018. Ellis suffered his first loss as a pro to DeAndre Ware, by majority decision, in February 2019.
Twin brothers Angel and Antonio Perez, who both reside in Harrisburg and fight at 140 pounds, will also fight on the card. Angel (4-0, 3 KOs) will square off against France’s Maxime Gilli (4-4-2, 1 KO), while Antonio (3-0, 2 KOs) will face Ricardo Jimenez (0-0-1) of New York City, both in four-round bouts.
Sibling Montana Perez (1-0) will square off against Mexico City’s Apolinar Lopez, who is making his pro debut, in a four-round lightweight bout.
Lateesha Molm, another Harrisburg resident who is a mixed martial arts fighter and kickboxer, will make her pro debut against Ohio’s Amber Swift in a four-round junior featherweight bout.
Junior middleweight Nicholas Hernandez (20-4-2, 8 KOs) of nearby Reading will face New Jersey’s Salim Larbi (22-11-2, 8 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing