Earlier today Uzbek sources reported that unbeaten Uzbek Welterweight contender Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] had signed a 3 fight professional contract with American promoter Bob Arum, and his Top Rank outfit.
Given that the Uzbek has been pencilled in for an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator on March 30th in Philadelphia with Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太], this promotional deal makes senses and seems to show that Arum is looking to set his fighters up for a shot at the IBF Welterweight title, which is currently held by Errol Spence.
The first fight of the deal will be the Obara bout and either the second or third bout will be the contest with the world title bout, potentially against Spence or Mikey Garcia, who challenged Spence in mid-March.
Arum has shown a willingness to sign Central Asian fighters, and Abdukakhorov joins the likes of 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0, 4) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров], also from Uzbekistan.
According to Olamsport there is now a date set for the IBF Welterweight title eliminator between unbeaten Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] and Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太].
According to Olamsport the bout will be taking place on March 30th in the US, with the winner to become the IBF mandatory challenger for the winner of the Errol Spence Vs Mikey Garcia bout. Despite being in the US it's unclear where abouts in the States the bout will actually be, or who the promoter of the card will be, however there is a notable Top Rank show on that night in Pennsylvania which could feature the bout, in theory, though it does seem likely to come on a different card that has yet to be announced.
It is worth noting this bout had previously been pencilled in for January 4th, but fell through for undisclosed reasons. With this new report it seems pretty clear that the March 30th date, which had been reported previously, is on.
Interestingly the bout will be Obara's second US bout, following a controversial draw with Walter Castillo in 2015. For Abdukakhorov this will actually be his US debut, though he is well travelled with fights in Uzbekistan, Singapore, Malaysia and Russia.
Towards the end of 2017 Uzbek sources reported that we would be getting an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator between Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] and Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太]. Originally that bout was announced for January 4th, though for whatever reason the bout failed to come through, and no one really seems to sure as to why.
Today Uzbek sources have reported that the bout has been rescheduled to March 30th, and will again see the same to men fighting in an eliminator at Welterweight.
Originally the bout had been pencilled in for Malaysia, though it now sounds like it will be taking place in the US. If it does it will be Obara's second bout stateside and Abdukakhorov's US debut.
We are just over a week away from Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志] huge bout with WBO Light Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26) in Houston, Texas.
Today, ahead of that bout, Inoue took part in a public work out and spoke to the press about his upcoming bout.
It seems that Inoue and his team have spent time scouting Munguia, and aware of Munguia's flaws, though also seem very aware that he's a very strong and powerful fighter with huge size advantages over Inoue. With that in mind it seems like Inoue's gameplan is is to get inside, and today he spoke about breaking Munguia's heart. It seems a risky tactic, but a better one than trying to box with the bigger, longer man.
To prepare for the bout Inoue has done around 180 rounds of sparring with top Japanese domestic fighters, including Hiroki Okada (19-0, 13) [岡田 博喜], Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太] and Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登]. There was more sparring today with Inoue sharing the ring with Takesako and former Japanese amateur stand out Masahiro Suzuki [鈴木雅弘] (1-0, 1), doing 4 rounds with each man.
As the sparring with Takesako and Suzuki the unbeaten Japanese hopeful also did 4 rounds of mitt work with the president of the World Sport boxing gym, and he worked up a serious sweat.
Interesting Inoue seemed to suggest that he was looking to make some comments in English when he's in the US. He also revealed that he is 2.5KG's, or around 5.5lbs, over the Light Middleweight limit and that he was going to be travelling on January 20th, less than a week to fight night. So whilst his weight is not likely to be a problem we do wonder about how jet lag may effect him, in what was always going to be a very tough bout against a very good champion.
Related - Inoue looks to upset WBO champion Munguia!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
According to multiple sources a deal has been finalised for an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator between unbeaten Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] and heavy handed Japanese slugger Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太]. With the bout said to have been arranged for January 4th in Malaysia.
The fight has been arranged after American Jessie Vargas declined an eliminator with Abdukakhorov, after the IBF ordered the two men to fight. When they were ordered the men were both ranked in the top 5 by the IBF, with Obara ranked #6.
The winner of the bout between Abdukakhorov and Obara would become the mandatory challenger for Errol Spence, though would likely have to wait until the end of the mandatory period. At the moment Spence is lining up his next defense, against Mikey Garica, and is likely to fit in another defense after that before facing a mandatory challenger in later 2019. The winner would also be expected to travel to the US to face the champion, be it Spence or Garcia.
The Uzbek 25 year old has risen through the rankings quicky, picking up notable wins against the likes of Adones Cabalquinto, Charles Manyuchi and Dmitry Mikhaylenko. Obara on the other hand is best known for his two most recent losses, a defeat to Eduard Troyanovsky in Russia, for the IBF Light Welterweight title, which saw him being sent out of the ring before being stopped, and a loss earlier to Alvin Lagumbay, when both fighters were dropped in a rare double knockdown.
An announcement for this bout is expected in the coming weeks, with a notable under-card also expected for the show, given that we have seen some very promising Uzbek novices fighting in Malaysia in recent months and they will probably be featured on this card as well.
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