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Arslanbek Makhmudov maintains unbeaten record by defeating Carlos Takam by unanimous decision

Arslanbek Makhmudov, who is nicknamed 'Lion', won the vacant WBC silver heavyweight title and retained his NABA and NABF heavyweight belts with victory over Carlos Takam in the 10-round contest

Can Arslanbek Makhmudov trouble the world's top heavyweights?
Image: Arslanbek Makhmudov maintained his unbeaten record in the 10-round clash in Montreal

Heavyweight contender Arslanbek Makhmudov moved another step closer to a potential world title shot with a convincing unanimous decision victory over Carlos Takam in Montreal.

The 33-year-old, nicknamed 'Lion', continued his unbeaten record after being awarded the decision by scores of 97-91 and 96-92 twice.

Makhmudov (15-0, 14 knockouts) failed to stop an opponent for the first time in his professional career, though, as Takam (39-7-1, 28 KOs) dug deep to extend the contest despite being knocked down twice.

The clash threatened to be stopped inside the opening minute when Makhmudov, who had won 10 of his previous fights via first-round knockouts, hurt Takam with his first meaningful punches and knocked him to the ground shortly afterwards.

Takam survived by throwing wild shots and responded well to a clean right hand from Makhmudov in the second, with the Cameroon-born veteran then landing a number of big left hands and looking increasingly dangerous as the fight progressed.

Arslanbek Makhmudov, Carlos Takam
Image: Makhmudov and Carlos Takam ahead of the fight

The pair exchanged punches before Makhmudov knocked down Takam again in the closing stages of the seventh, with the Canadian-based Russian made to work hard for victory in his toughest test to date.

What next for Makhmudov?

Makhmudov's run of knockouts prior to his victory over Takam put him on the "radar" of Top Rank president Todd duBoef, whose aim now is to guide the fearsome heavyweight towards a world title.

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'Lion' recently signed a multi-year co-promotional contract with Top Rank and DuBoef revealed how the company became aware of the contender's menacing reputation.

"My matchmakers have him on our radar screen for a long time, really liked what he can do, his pedigree," DuBoef told Sky Sports. "They love his style, think he's physically tough and he's going to be at a position too.

"He's had a little more experience than [fellow Top Rank heavyweight] Jared [Anderson] on the body of work he's had. I think you'll see him in the next 12 months really make some strides."

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