Former world title challenger Matt Korobov (24-1,14KOs) of Russia will return to the ring January 16th. Korobov will face durable Josue Ovando (14-8-1, 11 KOs) of Mexico. The main event bout will be aired on UniMas. The site of the card will be the Bomb Factory located in Dallas, Texas. It will be Korobov’s first fight in over a year. Ovando has fought very tough and never been stopped inside the distance as a pro. The promoter of the show will be Top Rank.
A few years ago Matt Korobov was considered to be a serious threat to become a middleweight world champion. He faced some decent opposition and overall for the most part handled them without much trouble. His top two wins were over veteran Derek Edwards and then unbeaten Jose Uzcategui. Edwards had knocked out then unbeaten future world champion Badeau Jack prior to facing Korobov. Uzcategui would go on to knockout unbeaten Julius Jackson in a world title eliminator. Both Korobov and Uzcategui’s victories were way above the middleweight limit adding more validation to Korobov’s wins over them.
Everything seemed right on track for Korobov heading into his showdown with Andy Lee for the vacant WBO middleweight world title in December 2014. Lee had fought at junior middleweight in his fight prior and had been knocked down. Lee did come back and win spectacularly in that fight but it seemed as if Korobov would be able to exploit some of Lee’s weaknesses. Korobov was ahead in the fight with Lee entering round six. It was in that round that Lee hurt Korobov badly with a hook and moments later he followed up to stop Korobov.
This was a major setback as a lot of time and money had been invested in Korobov. He was in the ideal situation to challenge for his first world title fight vs Lee. He was heavily favored to beat Lee. Korobov is now 32 years old. There really is no time to build him up all over again. It would seem likely that he will be put in tough in 2016 to see if he indeed has what it takes to be a world champion. The middleweight division has suddenly gotten deep. If Korobov plans on challenging and winning a world title it seems like he will have to go the tough road route to get there.