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Monday, February 12, 2024

Sagiv Ismailov to Fight Fran Verdeguer

Sagiv Ismailov is scheduled to fight Francisco Verdeguer on March 23 at Centro Deportivo Boxing Unitres in Picanya, Spain. Ismailov has been active lately, fighting four times last year, but he faces a tougher test this time.

Ismailov (7-0, 2 KOs) is a 21 year old resident of Ashdod, Israel who has shown a lot of improvement in his last three fights. He's turning into an adept defensive fighter with a smart and creative offense. He showed a lot of dimensions in his last fight on December 23 against Evghenii Shabazov. That fight was Sagiv's first six-rounder and he finished strong.

Verdeguer is a 5'11" 30 year old from Albal, Spain. He's essentially had two different pro careers. He went 1-3 from 2012-2014 before he spent nearly eight years away from the ring. After winning his debut in 2012, Verdeguer dominated Ivan Salcines in the first round of their fight back in 2013, pounding away at his opponent's body and putting combinations together. But Verdeguer never saw Salcines's short left hook. By the time he woke up, the fight was over.

Verdeguer, now donning an array of face tattoos including a giant cross on his left cheek, decided to reignite his career after the birth of his child. In his first fight back, he faced 10-2 David Loy. In the fourth round, Loy tackled Verdeguer over the ropes in frustration. Verdeguer fell on the ring apron while Loy landed on the floor. The fight continued, and Verdeguer pulled off the upset by split decision. He has lost his last three, but his opponents were a combined 12-0 when he faced them.

The Spaniard's record is an unimpressive 2-6, but that's misleading. A former Spanish junior amateur champion, he is rated as the fifth best light heavyweight in Spain, according to Espabox. He's ranked above several fighters with better records because of the strength of his opposition. After falling to Jose Antonio Traicovich by decision in 2022, Martin Foru knocked him out with a left hook in the second round at York Hall in London.

Last fight, he faced Cyrano Lorenzo on March 4, 2023. Because Verdeguer kept his left low, Lorenzo landed some early right leads. Verdeguer adjusted, but his hands weren't fast enough to compete with Lorenzo. He tried to parry with his right, but it was often too slow. He landed some sneaky punches and the occasional combination, however.

Verdeguer has some advantages over Ismailov. He's naturally the bigger man. While Ismailov has never weighed in over 170 pounds, Verdeguer has fought as heavy as a cruiserweight. The Spaniard has faced the tougher opposition and he lands thudding punches and is a willing body puncher. The fight will also be in his home country.

Ismailov cannot take this opponent likely. He'll want to use his hand and foot speed advantages. Verdeguer doesn't show much foot movement, so Ismailov should box early and only stay in the pocket when the fight is under control. The left hook could be the ticket to knockout. It's the punch responsible for Verdeguer's two KO losses.

This fight is scheduled to be in the super middleweight division according to BoxRec. It's slated for six rounds.

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