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Raymond Ford vs. Otabek Kholmatov: Dramatic Last Round Stoppage in WBA Featherweight Title Fight

Raymond Ford Latest to Become Featherweight Champion

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Raymond Ford vs. Otabek Kholmatov: Dramatic Last Round Stoppage in WBA Featherweight Title Fight

Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Raymond Ford vs. Otabek Kholmatov: Dramatic Last Round Stoppage in WBA Featherweight Title Fight

VERONA, March 2 – Raymond Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs) became the new WBA featherweight champion with a twelfth-round stoppage against Otabek Kholmatov (12-1, 11 KOs).

The fight headlined an event at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY. Top Rank promoted the card that aired entirely on ESPN+ in the United States. With the win, Ford becomes the latest featherweight titlist.

Raymond Ford vs. Otabek Kholmatov: Dramatic Last-Round Stoppage

Raymond Ford Earns Late Stoppage Win

Most of the opening round saw both fighters being tentative. The punches of note in the first came from Kholmatov. Early on, the Uzbek established himself as the more powerful fighter with a couple of shots that buzzed Ford. Round four saw “Savage” press forward and have success of his own.

It was this tactical change – that saw Ford dominate some of the middle and late rounds. Kholmatov’s power began to have less impact with Ford pushing forward. As a result, the fight became more of a tactical affair.

Read More5 Underrated Featherweights to Watch Out for in 2024

A headbutt caused blood to pour below the eye of Ford in the eleventh round. Despite this, the American continued to push forward in round 12 and was rewarded for it. A barrage of punches sent Kholmatov to the ropes and Ford continued to throw until referee Charlie Fitch ended the fight at the 2:53 mark.

The stoppage proved to be crucial. Kholmatov was ahead with scores of 106-103 on two of the judge’s scorecards. The third judge had it 105-104 for Ford going into round 12.

Post-Fight Comments

“I didn’t even hear him say ‘And New.’ I was just so in the moment. This is a blessing.

“My coach told me to bring that dog out. We knew we were coming into their territory. This wasn’t under our promotion. But we had to dig deep. The whole time in the corner, I kept telling myself, ‘I’m going to stop him.’ I felt him breaking down as the rounds went on.

“I started off a little slow. I felt I didn’t really have the energy and the legs to be the sharper boxer I know I can be. That was due to a tough weight cut. So, this may be my last fight at 126. Then, we’ll go up to 130 and call out the champions there.

“I knew I had to stop him. The rounds were too close. I just had to bring that dog out that my coaches were talking about. I always knew I had it in me. I come from a rough background. There’s nothing that can stop me. Ever.”

Be sure to check out our recap of Luis Alberto Lopez dominating against Reiya Abe.

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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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