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Light heavyweight standout Radivoje Kalajdzic says he’s free agent

Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic celebrates after stopping undefeated Travis Peterkin in the main event of a ShoBox card. Photo / Tom Casino-SHOWTIME
Fighters Network

Former light heavyweight world title challenger Radivoje Kalajdzic is now a promotional free agent, manager Ryan Rickey told The Ring on Thursday.

Kalajdzic fought the DiBella Entertainment banner for the majority of his career and declared himself a free agent on Tuesday.

“I am extremely grateful for what Lou DiBella has done for my career,” said Kalajdzic. “I believe it has been a mutually beneficial relationship. I wish Lou and his staff all the best. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my career and am willing and able to fight absolutely anyone on any platform as I believe I belong in the conversation with the division’s elite.”

The 31-year-old Kalajdzic (27-2, 19 knockouts), who currently lives and trains in Saint Petersburg, Florida, last fought on May 14, stopping Ernest Amuzu in the opening round. He has won his last four bouts since suffering a fifth-round KO to Artur Beterbiev in a bid for the IBF title in May 2019.

The other blemish on Kalajdzic’s record came in April 2016, when he lost by split decision to Marcus Browne in a clash of unbeaten prospects. Several media members ringside and watching the fight on television thought Kalajdzic did more than enough to earn the victory.

Kalajdzic hopes for another opportunity to face any of the top fighters in the division.

“Brown and Beterbiev are over and done with,” said Kalajdzic, who goes by the nickname of ‘Hot Rod.’ “I can’t change the past. I have had ample time to adjust to my new trainer over the past few years and I am confident I can beat absolutely anyone in the division.”

Richard Caronongan, who also resides in the Saint Petersburg area, now trains Kalajdzic.

“I have worked in the camps of (former world unified titleholder) Keith Thurman, (former world super middleweight titleholder) Jeff Lacy and many more and I am confident ‘Hot Rod’ will be the first world champion under my guidance,” said Caronongan.

As far as the timetable as to when Kalajdzic will be back in the ring, Rickey hopes it will be later this year. He is open to offers and will look to put Kalajdzic in the best possible position to face the echelon of the division.

“I am confident Rod will be competing for world titles in the next 12-18 months,” Rickey told The Ring Thursday. “He currently sits at No. 8 in the WBO (rankings) and is well positioned to make any of those meaningful fights.”


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 at [email protected]