Rob Brant Looking to Retain Middleweight Title at Home in Minnesota

Rob Brant Looking to Retain WBA Middleweight Title at Home in Minnesota

St. Paul, Minn. native Rob Brant will defend the WBA middleweight title on Friday against undefeated challenger Khasan Baysangurov in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Updated: Feb. 13, 2019 • 7:40 PM ET

Hinckley, Minn. will host a WBA middleweight title fight this weekend.

The WBA middleweight title will be on the line this Friday at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minn., as champion and Minnesota native Rob Brant will defend his belt against undefeated challenger Khasan Baysangurov in a 12-round fight.

Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) will defend the title for the first time since shockingly winning the belt by unanimous decision against Ryota Murata in October. The lone loss in his career came by unanimous decision to Juergen Braehmer in October 2017, but the 28-year-old’s victory over Murata surprised nearly everyone but Brant. He plans to continue his winning ways on Friday.

“Becoming a world champion was a dream come true,” Brant recently said via Top Rank. “It’s extra special that my first title defense will be in my home state of Minnesota in front of my fans. I fully understand the task in front of me, as it is harder to keep a title than it is to win one.

“My opponent is very talented and certainly deserving of his world ranking. I know that Khasan has weaknesses, and I feel we can exploit them. I am already working hard in a full training camp in Las Vegas in order to be prepared for top-level competition. I am confident and ready.”

Brant will have the advantage of fighting in a venue that he has previously won 11 fights in. The champion has won eight of his last 10 fights by knockout and will attempt to take down another undefeated fighter to retain his title.

Baysangurov (17-0, 7 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Paul Valenzuela Jr. in October. The 21-year-old will fight for his first major title and for the first time in the United States this weekend.

“I am very proud and happy to receive this great opportunity to showcase my skills against the reigning WBA middleweight world champion,” Baysangurov said. “I won’t disappoint my team and will give everything it takes to become the new champion. Of course, Rob Brant is a good boxer and a great champion, but now is my time to shine.”

Friday’s other featured bout will be a bantamweight fight between 24-year-old rising prospect Joshua Greer Jr. and Giovanni Escaner.

Greer (19-1-1, 11 KOs) has finished eight of his last 10 fights, including six straight, and has reeled off 16 straight victories since losing a majority-decision to Stephen Fulton in 2015.

Escaner (19-3, 12 KOs) will enter the fight riding an eight-fight winning streak after being finished by Jason Canoy in 2014. The 28-year-old Filipino will also make his debut in the U.S. this weekend.

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