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Rising Kiwi star Andrei Mikhailovich eyes world title bid with Fight for Life victory

Rising Kiwi middleweight Andrei Mikhailovich will try to take another significant step towards world title contention, when he squares off with Frances Waitai on the undercard of the Fight for Life.

‘The Russian Hammer’ has turned heads, both in New Zealand and across the Tasman, with a string of impressive performances that have caught the attention of the world’s best at the weight class.

In the most recent addition to his growing highlight reel, the 24-year-old overwhelmed Venezuelan veteran Ernesto Espana in just the third round of their showdown at Brisbane last month to secure the IBF Pan Pacific title and the WBO Global belt.

That came two months after he’d stopped Commonwealth Games bronze medalist King Davidson inside two rounds.

The finish of Espana was Mikhailovich’s fifth straight, extending his undefeated professional record to 18 bouts and elevated his name inside the all-important top-15 rankings with both the WBO and IBF.

Mikhailovich sees his dizzying recent rise as just another natural step in his inevitable rise to global relevance.

“I truly feel like I deserve it,” said Mikhailovich of the attention brewing around him. “I’ve given my all to boxing.

“For two-and-half years, I didn’t see my kids. I watched them grow up on a video call.

“I watched my eldest walk for the first time on video call. Imagine that?

“I was always either at work or training. Now, I have the opportunity to just be a fighter and be a stay-at-home dad, and really be there for my kids.

“Fighting is everything to me. There’s no hype – I worked for literally 10 years to get here.

“For a long time, I had nothing. Nobody cared for me.”

Adopted from a Russian orphanage and brought to New Zealand as a baby, Mikhailovich’s remarkable journey has taken him the breadth of the globe and now he’s eager to put his name among lights.

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