There are a growing number of stars in the world of boxing at present, with all eyeing potential world title showdowns in 2023. One of the stars that could be set for a first challenge at a global championship may be Andrei Mikhailovich, who has effortlessly moved up the world rankings over the past year or so.
However, with such a crowded picture in the middleweight rankings, could the Russian-born fighter be set for an opportunity at a championship in 2023? Given his amateur pedigree, he could be among the leading contenders in the odds available at online casinos for New Zealand players.
Mikhailovich’s career hasn’t been without its issues throughout. After being born, he was immediately adopted from an orphanage in 1999. It was around this period that he moved to New Zealand with his new family, and it became clear from an early age that he had a lifelong ambition to step into the boxing ring.
Many experts have labelled his time as an amateur as ‘decent’, but he did capture a number of New Zealand National Championships, and also landed victory in the North Island Golden Gloves Championships. But, his first steps into the sport also led him to Isaac Peach, who remains his coach to this day.
After stepping up through the amateur ranks, it was decided in early 2018 that Mikhailovich would turn professional. He made an impactful showing on debut, as he scored a second-round stoppage victory over Rob Ramsey, before winning by decision just a few months later against Jerome Pascua.
Mikhailovich would be in regular action throughout the first year as a professional, which included notable wins over credible rivals such as Daniel Maxwell, Jessie Nikora and James Uoka, with all victories coming by knockout.
His victory over Maxwell certainly began to get Kiwis dreaming that there could be a world champion contender within their ranks, as the ease with which he recorded victory against the former national champion was incredibly impressive.
Every boxing contender needs a rival to push them to the next level, and for Mikhailovich that came in the form of Gunnar Jackson. The grudge fight was officially set up after multiple exchanges between the stars, with Peach also looking to make the fight happen after the trainer had previously defeated Jackson during his esteemed career.
The fight was officially set for August 2019 in Cambridge, New Zealand, with Mikhailovich dominating throughout the contest. And, the victory never looked to be in doubt for the emerging star. The success saw Mikhailovich get his hands on a first championship, as he claimed the Pro-Box NZ Middleweight crown.
This would only be the first taste of gold, as Mikhailovich later added the PBCNZ light middleweight title to his collection after a decision win over Marcus Heywood in November 2020. He would successfully defend the title on one occasion, beating Shay Brock by TKO in April 2021.
After that successful title defence, it emerged that talks between the camps of Mikhailovich and Alex Walters were finalising a bout between the two stars. It was a fight that many were interested in seeing, as the boxers had been making comments about one another since 2018. The eventual fight finally took place in June 2021, with Mikhailovich quickly put down as the clear favourite.
However, Walters looked to get inside the head of the rising star by landing a gut punch before the opening bell when the fighters were meant to touch gloves. But, despite this game plan, Mikhailovich stayed calm under the pressure of the big lights in Sydney and scored a stunning second-round knockout win over his long-time rival.
His appearances in the ring were continuing to gain traction, and that led to Mikhailovich signing a deal with promoter Dean Lonergan. In his first bout with the new promoter, Mikhailovich took on previous Commonwealth Games bronze medallist King Davidson, but he faced a few issues in gaining the victory. Mikhailovich needed just under a minute and 15 seconds to record the victory in the opening round.
For the first time in his career, Mikhailovich then took on an international challenger in June 2022. However, it would end in a very dominant success, with the Kiwi landing a third-round TKO win against Ernesto Espana to win the IBF Pan-Pacific and WBO Global middleweight titles.
Following the win in mid-2022, Mikhailovich later returned to the ring in July 2022, as he defeated Francis Waitai by unanimous decision. The Kiwi certainly appears to be on the right path to challenge for further titles, as his recent victories have put him in line to challenge for the IBF world title against either Michael Zerafa or Esquiva Falcao. It promises to be a bright period in the history of New Zealand boxing.
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