Jared “Big Baby” Anderson is back in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, and he’s looking to put on a show for his fans on Saturday night.
Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs) will battle former world champion “Prince” Charles Martin (29-3-1, 26 KOs) in the 10-round main event at Toledo’s Huntington Center(ESPN).
“This is super special; I’m super excited,” Anderson said at the final press conference on Thursday. “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.”
The 23-year-old has stopped all of his opponents and has been impressive.
However, Martin, who replaced Kazakh contender Zhan Kossobutskiy on 11 days’ notice after he was forced to withdraw due to a delay in obtaining his visa, is a former world champion and, at age 37, has all the experience needed to possibly give Anderson some problems, Like Kossobutskiy, Martin is a southpaw, and according to Anderson, that made his preparation a little easier.
“I come prepared for anything and everything,” Anderson said at Thursday’s press conference. “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.”
Anderson was seen on a viral video talking with the great Roy Jones Jr. about the pressure that’s on him. According to Anderson, he’s seen a lot things outside the ring.
“My toughest fight outside the ring is life because it throws curveballs at you that you just don’t expect sometimes,” he said. “I think I’ve been through a lot in my 23 years, and I think I’ve handled it well.”
If Anderson wants to be special and a world champion, he must be able to handle those “curveballs” outside of the ring. The future seems super bright for Anderson, but Martin is a test for him, and it should be interesting to see how he handles the test on Saturday night.
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.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)