Sergei KharitonovYesterday, it was confirmed that Antonio Silva would be fighting on July 26 at “Unfinished Business” for the EliteXC Heavyweight Championship. Now, Silva may have an opponent, and a formidable one at that—PRIDE veteran Sergei Kharitonov. According to, the bout has been verbally agreed upon and is pending approval by the CSAC.

Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures) could be the one.

Brazilian behemoth Antonio Silva has verbally agreed to face the stoic Russian boxer for the vacant heavyweight crown at EliteXC’s July 26 “Saturday Night Fights” at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif.

The bout is currently pending approval from the California State Athletic Commission, according to a rep from Silva’s American Top Team.

If greenlighted, the featured bout will be televised live on Showtime beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a prelude to the promotion’s sophomore effort on CBS later that evening.

I can’t think of any reasons why the CSAC wouldn’t approve Kharitonov for this bout, but considering the commission’s history, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found some ridiculous reason to reject it either.

I’m crossing my fingers this fight happens, because its about the best opponent EliteXC is going to find for Silva in a heavyweight division whose top contenders are primarily tied up with Affliction and the UFC. While Kharitonov isn’t generally considered a top ten heavyweight, he’s still a very dangerous opponent with serious striking skills, holding wins over UFC contender Fabricio Werdum, Pedro Rizzo, Alistair Overeem, and K-1 GP champ Semmy Schilt.

Silva looked flat in his last fight against Ricco Rodriquez, and will likely need to give a much better performance if he wants to get past the Russian heavyweight and hold EliteXC gold.

The latest EliteXC “Unfinished Business” fight card and event info can be found in our fight cards section.

[UPDATE 6/26/08 10:35PM ET] – EliteXC matchmaker Jared Shaw tells Five Oz. that this fight is “100 percent not happening.”

Shaw also responded to a report that claimed Antonio Silva had agreed verbally to fight Sergei Kharitonov for the vacant EliteXC heavyweight title during the SHOWTIME portion of the next installment of “Saturday Night Fights” on July 26 in Stockton, Calif. He issued a clear denial, saying “That fight is 100 percent not happening.”

Bummer. Shaw did tell Caplan that a “worthy” opponent for Silva has been selected, but the deal is not done yet.