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‘This Means the World to Me’ – World Title Doubleheader Set for Saturday

‘This Means the World to Me’ - World Title Doubleheader Set for Saturday

Boxing News

‘This Means the World to Me’ – World Title Doubleheader Set for Saturday

Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

‘This Means the World to Me’ – World Title Doubleheader Set for Saturday

It will not be long before a card with significant implications for the featherweight division takes place. Otabek Kholmatov (12-0, 11 KOs) will take on Raymond Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant WBA title in the main event. Just before that will be a clash where Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) defends his IBF belt against Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs). The fights are part of a March 2 Top Rank card at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY. Big Fight Weekend will also be present come Saturday night.

The fighters spoke at a press conference Thursday afternoon ahead of their respective clashes. Below is what they had to say:

Otabek Kholmatov vs. Raymond Ford Preview

Otabek Kholmatov

“It has been my dream to fight for a world title,” said Kholmatov through an interpreter. “I’ve been training my whole life for this. I’m ready.”

“I love to fight. That’s all I have done in my life. So, I’m going to bring the fight on Saturday.”

Read More: 5 Underrated Featherweights to Watch Out for in 2024

“I’m very well prepared. It’s been a great training camp. Great sparring. Great coaches. Everything went well, and we are prepared for the fight.”

“Fighting for all the titles is a dream come true. Every fighter wants to become undisputed. That is the goal for me.”

Raymond Ford

“This means the world to me,” said Ford. “I’ve been fighting my whole life for this opportunity. It’s finally here, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Shakur Stevenson is like a big brother to me. I’ve been sparring with him since I was in the amateurs. It’s really no different. Just now it’s more intense. It’s great always going to Houston. I get away from home and distractions. I can fully lock in, and that’s been the difference from my past few camps.”

“I’m willing to stay for one more fight at 126 if it’s to defend against a champion or a big money fight. If it makes sense, I’m definitely here for it. But it has to be right away. If not, I’m moving up to 130.”

Luis Alberto Lopez

“I’m anxious to step into the ring and anxious deliver a great fight to the people,” said Lopez through an interpreter.

“We know he’s a fighter who likes to move a lot. He likes to be on his toes and moving backward. But if he wants to be the new champion, he’s going to have to come here and fight. We will do everything possible to win early.”

Read More: Luis Alberto Lopez Dominates In IBF Defence

“I’ve been looking for a unification fight for quite some time. When Mauricio Lara was a champion, I wanted to unify with him. When Robeisy Ramirez was a champion, I wanted to fight him. I’ve been asking for it.

“The faster a unification fight happens, the better for me. It would be great for my career.”

Reiya Abe

“I think Lopez is a good champion,” said Abe through an interpreter. “But this will be the day that I show that I’m the best at 126 pounds.”

“The level of boxing in Japan has been improving, and I’m pleased to have been recognized there. The pressure has increased, but I consider it to be necessary to become stronger.”

Read More: Luis Alberto Lopez Stuns Josh Warrington In Leeds

“I believe that bringing back a victory is the best way to give back to everyone who has supported me.”

Kholmatov vs. Ford and Lopez vs. Abe Fight Predictions

The main event pits two young fighters against each other. Ford has fought better-quality opposition but also has his share of off nights. On the other hand, Kholmatov has a higher KO percentage but not the same level of experience in the professional ranks. That being said, Big Fight Weekend is expecting the Uzbek’s power to have the final say in the fight. Expect a stoppage win for Kholmatov before the tenth round.

Lopez has proven himself time and time again against opposition that have underestimated him. While Abe is on a six-fight win streak and will be the taller fighter, “El Venado” has shown that he can dominate against such opponents. Expect Lopez to win a wide unanimous decision.

Kholmatov vs. Ford Full Press Conference

For the entire press conference featuring the fighters and more, click here or the play button below. Video courtesy of Top Rank.

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Currently writing out of Toronto, Canada, Saadeq first became a boxing fan while living in Doha, Qatar. Looking to become more involved in the sport, he began writing about boxing and has had work published in outlets such as Seconds Out and Boxing Social. He looks forward to continue covering boxing on Big Fight Weekend.

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