Jared "Big Baby" Anderson and Zhan Kossobutskiy will meet in a battle of big-punching undefeated heavyweights on July 1 in Toledo, Ohio, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
Anderson, ESPN's No. 8 heavyweight, will fight in his hometown for the first time in his pro career and will also make his debut in an ESPN main event. The 23-year-old will return home on the heels of his two most-impressive victories.
In a pair of step-up bouts, Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) stopped Jerry Forrest in Round 2 in December and followed up with a third-round TKO victory over George Arias earlier this month. Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) of Kazakhstan will represent another jump in class as Anderson's stiffest test yet.
The southpaw's best win came last February, a fifth-round TKO of former title challenger Johann Duhaupas. Now, Kossobutskiy will make his North American debut against his best opponent to date.
Both fighters are full-sized heavyweights: Anderson is 6-foot-4, 247-plus pounds while Kossobutskiy is 6-3 and about 240. Between the two fighters, only one opponent has lasted the distance: a six-round bout for Kossobutskiy in 2018.
Anderson has appeared to be the next great American heavyweight and the bout against Kossobutskiy will be the best glimpse yet into just how good he will someday be.
Anderson unloaded over 100 punches in the opening round vs. Forrest and his fan-friendly style is made for TV.