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Freddie Roach: Andrei Arlovski Looking for Knockout at June 27 Boxing Debut

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will make his professional boxing debut in two months, and the legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach says he expects Arlovski to impress.

Roach told me Tuesday that Golden Boy Promotions has signed Arlovski for a six-round fight on its June 27 show. No opponent has been determined, but Roach said that whoever it is, he thinks Arlovski will be ready to show off his punching power.

"Andrei is going to be aggressive, using his strength and his reach advantage and his height," Roach said. "He's going to be aggressive and looking for a knockout."

Roach said that Arlovski is ready to turn his attention to boxing after he suffered a first-round knockout loss in his January MMA fight against Fedor Emelianenko.

"He's working very well," Roach said. "After the Fedor fight he was real disappointed in his decision to try the flying knee from too far away, but he was back in the gym two days later. He's improving himself. He and Michael Moorer are working together quite a bit. Michael is teaching him how to sit down in his punches. A lot of the MMA guys don't sit down in their punches because they have to be a little lighter on their feet for the kicking aspect of that sport. We're teaching him to sit down and use his power much more effectively. He looks pretty good."

Roach said that Arlovski handles himself well against tough sparring partners in the gym.

"He spars with the best guys I can get for him over here and he holds his own with them," Roach said. "I'd like to see him after his first pro fight and I think we'll have a better outlook for him at that point."

Roach added that unless a major MMA offer comes along, he expects Arlovski to turn his attention to boxing on a permanent basis.

"He likes to box so much more than MMA," Roach said. "He likes the stand-up game. If boxing takes off for him I think he'll stay, but obviously if he gets a world title fight in MMA he probably would not turn that down."

Although inexperienced boxers are usually brought along slowly, Roach said he believes Arlovski could move quickly up the ranks in the heavyweight division, possibly fight WBA heavyweight champion Nicolay Valuev soon, and even earn a fight against the top heavyweights in the world, Vitali Klitschko and Wladimir Klitschko, down the road.

"My final goal would be to fight Valuev of course, he's a champion, and maybe one day a Klitschko," Roach said. "I used to train Wladimir Klitschko. He's a good friend of mine and I think he's the best heavyweight in the world today, but the division is not that strong now."

Arlovski's fight will be part of a card at the Staples Center featuring a main event of Rocky Juarez vs. Chris John for the WBA featherweight title. Roach said he's not sure yet whether Arlovski's fight will be featured on the televised portion of the card, but that he's hoping Arlovski's fight will be on TV and draw in MMA fans.