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Fedor Emelianenko open to boxing Roy Jones Jr: ‘It would be a great honor for me’

In an interview with Tass.ru, the Last Emperor appeared to accept Roy Jones. Jr.’s proposal for a boxing match.

Bellator Japan x Rizin Press Conference Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage

Fedor Emelianenko is the latest mixed martial artist to express interest in entering the boxing ring.

In an interview with Russia’s state-run media outlet Tass.ru, Emelianenko revealed that he was open to facing former world champion Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing match in the near future.

“I have great respect for him as an athlete, a person, like a legend,” Emelianenko said. “He is one of the most outstanding boxers in the world of all time. Of course, it would be a great honor for me to perform in such a fight. I am interested in such fights. There are a few things we need to do—we need a promotion that is ready to organize such a fight. We also need to discuss the terms.”

Emelianenko, 45, holds a 40-6 (1) record in MMA, including a recent KO victory against Timothy Johnson at Bellator 269. Though still under contract with Bellator, the legendary heavyweight noted that he can still compete elsewhere as long as he remains in Russia. He also hinted that the potential fight might be best suited as an exhibition.

“We probably will not fully commit to strikes. But even without committing to punches, Roy can show everything he is capable of. Hopefully, I won’t pale in comparison.”

Seven years Emelianenko’s senior, Jones Jr. most recently took part in a boxing exhibition bout against Mike Tyson in November 2020, which ended in a split draw following eight rounds. He has not competed professionally since 2018, when he defeated Scott Sigmon by unanimous decision and retired on a win streak.

While Emelianenko is aware that both fighters are past their prime, he seemed to believe that combat sports fans would be interested in the match-up. He revealed plans to train with Denis Lebedev, a former unified cruiserweight world champion, in preparation for the bout, and expressed a desire to test his skills against one of his favorite fighters.

“We now have the wind blowing in different directions,” Emelianenko noted. “I think that this fight will be interesting for many. But there are many pitfalls, including many people who will take it negatively.”