Middleweight Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who is closing in on a shot at a world title, will be back in action after an eight-month layoff when he squares off with fellow undefeated fighter Kemahl Russell.
The scheduled 10-round bout will be the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on March 14 at the Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi, PBC announced on Thursday.
The 31-year-old Derevyanchenko (9-0, 7 KOs) has been out of action since defeating former middleweight world titleholder Sam Soliman in the second round in a July semifinal elimination bout.
"I am thrilled to be returning to the ring and I'm determined to put on a great performance for all the fans watching," Derevyanchenko said. "I know that I'm facing a tough, undefeated fighter with power, but I'm very close to a world title opportunity and no one will stop me from achieving my dream."
Derevyanchenko, a 2008 Olympian for Ukraine now living in Brooklyn, New York, is not your average 9-0 boxer. He went 390-20 as an amateur and was 23-1 in World Series of Boxing competition. Russell (10-0, 8 KOs), 27, of Jamaica, will be taking a huge step up in the level of his opposition, but is he confident.
"I believe that I have the tools to win this fight and I'm coming to show the world that me and my Jamaican countrymen belong on this big stage," Russell said. "I'm ready to step up to this challenge and make my country proud. This has been one of the best training camps I've had and I'm looking forward to this opportunity. I only want to fight the best and I'm ready to prove it on March 14."
The card also will feature two additional televised bouts, both scheduled for eight rounds, involving light heavyweight prospect Ahmed Elbiali (14-0, 11 KOs), 26, a native of Egypt fighting out of Miami, and welterweight prospect Jamontay Clark (10-0, 6 KOs), a 22-year-old from Cincinnati. They will face opponents to be determined.
Elbiali will be returning from a 14-month layoff caused by a fractured hand suffered in his last bout, an eight-round decision victory against Andrew Hernandez in January 2016.