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Press Conference Notes: Jared Anderson Set for Homecoming Battle against Charles Martin

Anderson-Martin and Arslanbek Makhmudov-Raphael Akpejiori heavyweight doubleheader will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

TOLEDO, Ohio (June 29, 2023) — Toledo's knockout king is ready to shine in his hometown Saturday evening.

Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) will fight former world champion “Prince” Charles Martin (29-3-1, 26 KOs) in the 10-round main event at Toledo’s Huntington Center.

In the 10-round heavyweight co-feature, Montreal-based wrecking ball Arslanbek Makhmudov (16-0, 15 KOs) takes on Nigeria’s Raphael Akpejiori (15-0, 14 KOs).

Anderson-Martin and Makhmudov-Akpejiori will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. In a special feature just before the main event, lightweight phenom Abdullah Mason (8-0, 7 KOs) will take on Alex de Oliveira (20-4, 14 KOs) in a six-rounder.

The ESPN+-streamed undercard (6:15 p.m ET/3:15 p.m. PT) will feature Toledo natives DeAndre Ware and Tyler McCreary.

Ware (15-4-2, 9 KOs) returns to the ring against Decarlo Perez (19-8-1, 6 KOs) in a six-round super middleweight tilt, while McCreary (17-2-1, 8 KOs) takes on veteran Deivi Julio (26-13, 16 KOs) in a six-round junior lightweight battle.

Junior welterweight standout Tiger Johnson (8-0, 5 KOs) will face Jonathan Montrel (15-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round bout, and light heavyweight prospect Dante Benjamin Jr. (6-0, 4 KOs) will meet Mirady Zola (4-2, 1 KO) in a six-round clash.

Junior middleweight prospect Husam Al Mashhadi (6-0, 5 KOs), the fighting pride of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, fights the durable Rance Ward (7-5-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Warriors Boxing, tickets are on sale now at

At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Jared Anderson

“This is super special. I’m super excited. I’m the talk of the town. It’s a new feeling. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to embrace it. I’m happy to be an inspiration for the kids.”

“I come prepared for anything and everything. Luckily, he is still a southpaw. I think that was the biggest reason that we chose him after the change. He’s also a bigger name. He is a former world champion. He has fought a few world titleholders as well."

“I’m prepared for everything. It didn’t throw a monkey wrench in the plan, but it definitely made us go back to the drawing board, look at the tapes, and come back with a plan.”

“My toughest fight outside the ring is life because it throws curveballs at you that you just don’t expect sometimes. I think I’ve been through a lot in my 23 years, and I think I’ve handled it well.”

Charles Martin

“I was happy when I got the call. I had been putting in a lot of work, so I was happy that the hard work was finally paying off. I’ve dedicated myself fully. I leave no stones unturned. You can’t do that in this game.”

“Surprisingly, I won my national championship here in Toledo, Ohio before I turned professional. So, I’m kind of just coming back and reliving the experience. It’s a good thing.”

“I’m up for the challenge. He’s a big, strong, young lion. And I’m here.”

Arslanbek Makhmudov

“Camp was good. Everything was great. I just can’t wait for it to be Saturday so I can perform. Montreal has been good for me. It’s a comfortable place for my family, and it’s comfortable for my training.”

“I came here to compete against the best and become the champion of the world. That’s my goal, my target and my dream. That’s why I started boxing when I was nine years old. I have a lot of experience as an amateur and that helps me as a professional.”

Raphael Akpejiori

“I came here on a basketball scholarship from Nigeria. I was one of those kids who did everything they could to make life better for myself and my family. I played basketball for four years, and I played football until grad school. I got my master’s degree. I was picked up by the Miami Dolphins. I didn’t make the final cut, so I started boxing. And then I fell in love with the sport.”

“I met up with very good people. They say that every time a student wants to learn, a teacher magically appears. My coach is the ‘Road Warrior’ himself, Glen Johnson, and he took me to another level. All my coaches have helped take me to another level, and I’m excited to be here.”

"This is the best guy I will have faced. But to be a champion, you have to go through some fire. And I have put myself in line to go through that fire. All I have to do is listen to the ‘Road Warrior’ and do everything we’ve done in camp.”

Tiger Johnson

“I’m really excited. Everyone’s about to see what Ohio is made of. For as long as boxing has been around, Ohio has always had legends. So, we’re about to put on a show. In every camp, we always go back to the fundamentals. Everyone will see my improvement on Saturday night.”

Dante Benjamin Jr.

“I love training. It’s like a family at the gym. I have a lot of fun. This past camp has been fun because my friends have been training with me. They push me. So, it feels good.”

Abdullah Mason

“My family keeps me focused inside the gym. We all share the same goal, which is to become a world champion. So, we’ll keep working towards that, and eventually it’s going to come.”

Jahi Tucker

“Saturday night will be the same old story: domination. In my last fight {against Nikoloz Sekhniashvili}, I wanted to show everything I’ve learned. It helped me get to that level. That last fight just added on to the experience that I’m going to take to championship fights.”

DeAndre Ware

“It’s been my dream to fight at the Huntington Center. Jared made this possible, and I’m just looking forward to it. We’re going to display our talent for the city.”

Husam Al Mashhadi

“This means a lot to my family. Everybody at home is really excited for me. I’m very excited. Toledo is like my backyard, so I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans come out from Michigan.”

Tyler McCreary

“It feels good to be here. I’ve been working really hard. I appreciate Jared for coming back home. It’s a good feeling to be back in action."

Saturday, July 1

ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT)

Jared Anderson vs. Charles Martin, 10 rounds, Heavyweights

Abdullah Mason vs. Alex de Oliveira, 6 rounds, Lightweights

Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Raphael Akpejiori, 10 rounds, Heavyweights

ESPN+ (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT)

Tiger Johnson vs. Jonathan Montrel, 8 rounds, Junior Welterweights

Dante Benjamin Jr. vs. Mirady Zola, 6 rounds, Light Heavyweights

DeAndre Ware vs. Decarlo Perez, 6 rounds, Super Middleweights

Husam Al Mashhadi vs. Rance Ward, 6 rounds, Junior Middleweights

Tyler McCreary vs. Deivi Julio, 6 rounds, Junior Lightweights

Jahi Tucker vs. Nicklaus Flaz, 8 rounds, Junior Middleweights

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