For those late to catch up to the bandwagon, Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson is being touted by many as the next great American heavyweight.
Sporting a record of 14-0 with 14 KOs, Anderson has a fan-friendly, fists-swinging ring style and the kind of general charisma that lends itself to mainstream success. And, as fast and athletic as he is, he also has the size– at 6-foot-4, 240ish pounds– to compete with the new era giants in the heavyweight division. Maybe best of all, though, he’s just 23 and has been boxing since the age of eight. Unlike many of the American heavyweights on the scene, he’s not a late-age convert from another sport, hitting fringe contender status well into his 30’s.
Anderson will be taking his first big step towards stardom on July 1 when he headlines his first-ever ESPN show at the Huntington Center, in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
“I’m happy to be here,” Anderson said at a press conference held at Toledo’s Glass City Pavilion. “I’m feeling so loved and embraced here. It means everything to me. I plan to put on a great show. I plan to show the kids and the city that we are still fighting and are one of the biggest small cities in the nation. The world will know us.
“I’m super excited. I’m happy to see all the familiar faces and all the friends and family. The cameras are good and all, but I’m doing this for the city. I’m doing this for the people that are here. I’m doing this for the people that don’t have phones in their hand and are out there in the world right now fighting to survive. I’ve been fighting to survive for a long time. Now that I don’t have to do that, I want to show you all that hopefully you won’t have to do that, too. Just keep fighting. Keep striving to be better and you will get there for sure.”
Anderson will be taking on fellow undefeated big man, the 34-year-old Zhan Kossobutskiy, who sports a record of 19-0, with 18 KOs. A native of Kazakhstan, Kossobutskiy has recently been based out of Germany. The biggest win on his ledge, thus far, has been against former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas, who he stopped in five rounds.
But, obviously, this July 1 show is all about Anderson moving to next-level stardom, played to the backdrop of a rocking hometown crowd eager to embrace a homegrown sports hero.
Toledo City Council member Vanice Williams, a longtime boxing fan, hopes Anderson’s emergence on the world stage will serve as motivation for the youth of his city.
“Jared has presented the opportunity to highlight his hometown,” Williams told Toledo’s WTOL. “Most of our champions are hood-raised. We are highlighting where we come from and proud of it.”
In his last bout, this past April on the Shakur Stevenson-Shuichiro Yoshino undercard at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, he stopped the previously undefeated George Arias in three rounds. He’s yet to go past the sixth round in any of his pro bouts.
Anderson is aware of where he stands and how big these next several fights will be, with more and more people watching his every move. He says he’s putting in the work and more than ready for the challenges ahead.
“I’ve been in the gym going crazy,” Anderson told media at the Toledo press conference. “As you can see, my body shows it. My fights show it. My power shows it. I’m going to keep pushing and stay on track so that this train keeps going.”