Bob Arum Backs Jared Anderson To Become ‘Next Great Heavyweight’

April 8, 2024
2 months
Jared Anderson training for his fight with Ryad Merhy.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is backing Jared Anderson to put his recent personal problems behind him and prove himself to be the “next great heavyweight” in boxing.

Anderson (16-0-0 15 KO) is regarded as one of the most exciting talents in the heavyweight division, but the 24-year-old American has found himself in recent trouble with the police. Anderson was detained and charged with a third-degree felony after racing his car at excessive speeds.

The Toledo, Ohio native has not fought since August last year when he retained his WBC USA and WBO International titles with a fifth-round stoppage of Andrii Rudenko in Tulsa. He returns to the ring on Saturday, April 13 for arguably the biggest test of his career so far against Ryad Merhy at American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Merhy (32-2-0 26 KO) is a former WBC cruiserweight world champion, and Arum believes the Belgian will be the exact sort of test Anderson needs to take the next step in his career.

Anderson To Fight For World Title By 2026

“He’s a young kid, a good-looking kid, and what he did was wrong, racing cars and so forth. A lot of these kids do that,” Arum told Box Nation. “But it wasn’t as though he was beating people up in a bar or stealing things.

“He was behaving the way some 23, 24-year-old kids do – doing stupid things. So now thank God he’s lost his driver’s licence so he can’t get in a car. He’s a really nice kid, a really fun kid with a big smile – he has a big test against this Belgian fighter that has a great resume, Merhy.

“I believe that given the rest of the year, and next year, that by 2026 Jared will be fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world and be the next great heavyweight.”

Unbeaten lineal and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who is also represented by Arum, agrees with his promoter that Anderson is on track to be the future of the division.

Merhy Ready To Prove Arum And Fury Wrong

However, Merhy said he is ready to prove Arum and Fury wrong, telling Sky Sports: “I’m the future guy who is going to beat the future champion, Jared will lose that fight and I’ll prove Tyson Fury wrong.

“The only name I know of Jared’s opponents is Charles Martin, that’s the only name we knew from anybody he fought. Can we compare him to an Olympic gold medallist?”

While Merhy is confident of victory, he insisted he will not be taking the powerful Anderson lightly.

“He is a very young talented fighter who has a lot of things to prove,” said Merhy. “He can switch guard and use both hands, early on we spoke about the power but you have to see who he knocked out before.

Merhy Targets World Bridgerweight Title

“The opponent he had before, to be able to compare who knocks out who we have to be able to see who he fought. He’s doing pretty well with his skills, we will see on fight night who is the better fighter.”

As for his own ambitions, Merhy revealed that his immediate goal lies not at heavyweight, despite his step up to face Anderson, but in the recently-formed bridgerweight division.

“Let’s be reasonable, my first goal is to be world champion in the bridgerweight division,” he said. “That’s my first goal, become world champion in bridgerweight and then if opportunities come at heavyweight again I will catch it.

“But first I want to become world champion in bridgerweight. I’m loving being the outsider, it’s a very comfortable position for me to be in. There’s no pressure. I’m not a heavyweight, I’m a bridgerweight so it’s just an opportunity I’ve caught and being the outsider gives me zero stress and very comfortable. I’m waiting for my opportunity to catch the bridgerweight world title.”