TOLEDO, Ohio — Undefeated heavyweight "The Real Big Baby" Jared Anderson is looking to leave his first professional fight in the Glass City victorious and prove his status as a hometown hero on July 1.
The Toledo native's professional career stands at 14-0 with 14 KOs ahead of his fight with fellow undefeated boxer 34-year-old Zhan Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) on July 1. It will be Anderson's first main event fight on ESPN.
In an interview with WTOL 11's Tyler Seggerman, the Scott High School graduate said while he's anticipating his bout with Kossobutskiy to be one of his tougher fights, Anderson said the love he's felt from Toledo has been a special experience all its own.
"It was love, I just felt very embraced," Anderson said. "There's a lot of hugs, a lot of pictures and a lot of 'I'm proud of you.'"
"Doing it in my home city just puts the cherry on top, it's going to be a huge night and everybody is going to see it on ESPN."
Running back and forth between interviews, conferences and promotions is nothing new for a boxer ahead of a big fight. Anderson described his promotion of the fight as chaotic, but more than worth it because of how it benefits Toledo.
"There's been a lot going on but it's all for a good cause and for the betterment of Toledo. I'm all for it." Anderson said. "We're all working for one better goal. That's just to spread the word that we are one of the biggest cities in the nation.
Toledo City Council member Vanice Williams, a boxing fan since she was 12 years old, said Anderson's success makes him a role model to other boxing hopefuls from the 419.
"Jared has presented the opportunity to highlight his hometown," Williams said. "Most of our champions are hood-raised. We are highlighting where we come from and proud of it."
Anderson has been labeled by many as the next great American heavyweight, and Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said the 23-year-old star's professional debut in the Glass City builds upon an underrated boxing history in the city.
Kapszukiewicz claimed the golden age of boxing -- primarily in the 1920s and '30s -- began with Toledo's "Day in the Sun" on July 4, 1919, when Jack Dempsey beat Jess Willard at the Bay View Park Arena to win the world heavyweight title.
And now, Toledo is ready to back its own as Anderson looks to add a 15th knockout to his career.
Anderson is ranked No. 7 in the World Boxing Organization's heavyweight rankings. Kossobutskiy is No. 8 according to the World Boxing Council's rankings.
Anderson, 23, stands 6-foot-4 with a 78.5-inch reach. Kossobutskiy is 6-3 with a 78-inch reach.
Anderson has won all but two of his bouts in three rounds or less.
Watch the full press conference to promote the fight on July 1 below: