Russia’s Arslanbek Makhmudov on the hunt for Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua

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Arslanbek Makhmudov will enforce a fight against Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury when he resumes his hunt for a world heavyweight title, says promoter Camille Estephan.

The fearsome Russian, nicknamed ‘Lion’, confirmed his return on the Vergil Ortiz Jr-Maurice Hooker bill in Dallas on March 20, with Makhmudov targeting his 12th straight knockout victory.

With Joshua and Fury nearing a deal for an undisputed world title fight, promoter Estephan is eager to guide Makhmudov swiftly up the rankings to secure a mandatory shot at the winner.

“He will be featured in the co-main event in Dallas on March 20,” Estephan told Sky Sports.

“We want Arslanbek to continue to climb, getting the international exposure in order to become a ‘must fight’ for the champions.

“He is avoided like the plague. We want to put him in a mandatory position.”

An opponent is yet to be announced for Makhmudov, who has won his last two fights inside the opening round, and Estephan believes fellow rivals are reluctant to share the ring.

“I believe the only opposition that can compete is really the champions and top-five contenders,” said Estephan.

“They are not willing to fight him unfortunately as they are so close to potential multi-million dollar flights, so they don’t want to risk it.”

SKYSPORTS