Boxing News

Maskaev takes backyard tuneup

Courtesy Jim Jenkins, Sacramento Bee

In his continued quest to regain the World Boxing Council heavyweight title, No. 2 ranked Oleg Maskaev (36-6, 27 KOs) is scheduled to face Nagy Aguilera (14-2, 9 KOs), a young prospect out of New York by way of the Dominican Republic, in a 10-round main event at Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium on Dec. 11. The fight, near Maskaev’s newly adopted hometown of West Sacramento, just over the bridge from California’s state capitol, will be his third since losing the WBC belt on a sixth-round TKO to Samuel Peter last year.

Maskaev, 40, won both of his post-title fights against journeyman opponents with little difficulty. He hopes to use Aguilera, 23, as the final link to landing a title-elimination bout, according to the ex-champ’s promoter, Dennis Rappaport of New York.

“It’s somewhat of a risk,” said Rappaport. “While Oleg is confident, there is always a chance that an upset would blow an opportunity to win the title back. Still, he needs to remain active.”

The Sacramento fight will be in a historic downtown venue that seats about 4,000 and for many years was the city’s primary boxing site. It has since has been passed over for bigger cards at NBA-sized Arco Arena.

Nevertheless, Rappaport sees the smaller, cozier auditorium as ideal for this Friday night matchup. Moreover, it is in close proximity to Maskaev’s neighborhood fan base. West Sacramento, where Maskaev moved to three years ago, has had long history as a settlement for Russian immigrants.

The Dec. 11 bout also will serve as a talking point because it comes one day before current champ, 38-year-old Vitali Klitschko, makes a title defense in Switzerland against No. 6 contender Kevin Johnson.

Klitschkov’s last defense was a 10th-round TKO over then No. 1 contender Chris Arreola last month. The loss dropped Arreola in the rankings and elevated Maskaev a notch to No. 2.

Rappaport, who scouted Sacramento sites before deciding on his choice over the weekend, will work with local promoters Nasser Niavaroni and Jeff Berger in putting together an undercard.

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