Hard-hitting Ivan Redkach has his eyes set on a world title shot entering this week's edition of "Friday Night Fights" from the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri.
Redkach (16-0, 13 KOs) headlines the card in a scheduled 10-round bout against Sergey Gulyakevich (41-2, 17 KOs) of Belarus (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN).
A former member of the 2008 Ukrainian Olympic team, Redkach will undoubtedly be the fighter to watch in this one as one of boxing's hottest prospects with good height and dynamite in both hands. The southpaw is coming off an exciting win over Tony Luis in January in which Redkach fought 10 full rounds for the first time in his career.
Redkach's run up the ranks has been impressive, including 14 knockouts inside of four rounds and six first-round stoppages. The 28-year-old, who lives in Los Angeles, appears ready for his first world title opportunity. He must first, however, deal with Gulyakevich, 33, an experienced and dangerous former world title challenger.
"Gulykevich is a very talented fighter with a lot of experience," Redkach said. "I think both of us are going to try to impress the audience and test each other from the opening bell. I am hoping for an exciting fight for the fans."
Gulyakevich, who will be making his U.S. debut, should provide a stern test for Redkach. The Belarusian enters the fight on a 15-bout win streak and hasn't lost since a controversial 2009 majority-decision defeat to Humberto Mauro Gutierrez.
The Minsk resident has good height for the division and has never been knocked down in his career. But he will be facing a bigger fighter in the 5-foot-11 Redkach, who often looks to take control of the pace early on in a fight with his jab.
Gulyakevich's jab will also be key in order to create distance and set up shots from the outside. When he closes in on his opponents, Gulyakevich often looks to surprise with quick combinations.
The fight promises to be an even one. Look for Redkach, true to form, to put the pressure on early and look for a stoppage. Gulyakevich will try to weather the first flurry and work the fight round by round in order to take advantage of his technical strengths.
"Every time I fight, I am trying to make a statement," Redkach said. "I want to fight for a world championship and the only way that will happen is to impress the audience and continue to win."
In the co-main bout, unbeaten junior lightweight Ryan Kielczweski (19-0, 4 KOs) faces Ramsey Luna (12-1, 4 KOs).