Rahman to face Swindell on ESPN2 card in August


Baltimore's Hasim Rahman, the World Boxing Union heavyweight champ, will fight journeyman Frankie Swindell in a non-title bout, possiblly the main event of a card to be televised on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" Aug. 4 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Steve Nelson, Rahman's co-manager with Stan Hoffman, said details "should be worked out by the end of this week."

A former cruiserweight contender, Swindell (37-18-3, 28 knockouts) battled Al Cole to a draw in New York in April.

Rahman (33-2, 27 KOs) voiced respect for Swindell, who like him is promoted by Cedric Kushner.

"His biggest asset's his big right hand," Rahman said last night. "He can make you look bad. I'll give him a steady diet of jabs, make it a terrible night for him. Plus he's heavy around the belly, so I'll bang his body, give him incentive to quit."

In his last fight at Atlantic City on May 20, Rahman lifted the WBU title from 6-foot-3 South African Corrie Sanders, a 34-year-old southpaw, with a seventh-round knockout.

Rahman, now training under Adrian Davis at Round One gym in Capitol Heights, survived an early knockdown to twice floor Sanders (36-3, 26 KOs), eventually landing more than 35 unanswered punches before the fight was stopped at 1:50 of the seventh.

The win was Rahman's second straight since being knocked out of that same Atlantic City ring in a November ninth-round loss to Russia's Oleg Maskaev.

"Hasim Rahman is a legitimate top 10 contender, and the main objective is to keep him in the public eye and in the eye of those who rate the fighters," said Eric Bottjer, with Kushner's group.

Said Rahman: "I didn't think Maskaev would be a problem for me. I ... didn't train hard, thought I could get by with what I'd been doing. But since I have a new trainer, I'm slicker, my conditioning's better. Against Sanders, when he hit me with a big shot, I was able to fire right back."

As WBU champ, Rahman is ineligible to be ranked by either the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association or World Boxing Council. But Ring magazine, considered the bible of boxing, has Rahman rated No. 9, and USA Today has him 10th.

Nelson and Hoffman also co-manage WBA middleweight champ William Joppy (30-1-1, 23 KOs) of Seabrook, Md., who is coming off a first-round knockout of Mexico's No. 1-ranked contender Rito Ruvalcaba on May 20. Joppy could fight an opponent to be determined on Aug. 25 at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro on ESPN2, Nelson said.

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