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.
Earlier this year we saw Japan's Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太] suffer a major upset defeat at the hands of Alvin Lagumbay (10-3, 9) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. That bout ended in stunning fashion, with both men being dropped simultaneously, and ended up with Lagumbay recovering to his feet ready to fight whilst Obara couldn't clear the cobwebs in time.
Today the two men had a rematch, and this time Obara got the upper hand and gained some revenge over the Filipino puncher.
Obara had stated at yesterday's weigh in that he was going out with the intention of stopping Lagumbay and that showed from the opening moments as he looked sharp and on point. The power of Obara saw him drop the Filipino in the opening round to secure a 10-8 start to the fight.
Obara would also shine in round 2, as he managed to avoid the power of Lagumbay and avoid a repeat of last time, when he was stopped in round 2, whilst landing hard counters on the back foot. The following round it was Obara's power again that told as he hurt Lagumbay and forced the referee to jump in and save the Filipino.
With the win Obara claims the regional title and gets some revenge over Lagumbay, and seemed relieved to have won. Sadly for Lagumbay this ends his short reign as a regional champion.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17) [小原 佳太] challenge WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9). The two men will be having a rematch of their memorable April contest, which saw a rare double knockdown, which resulted in Obara being stopped in a notable upset and Lagumbay claiming the regional title.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the rematch and both men mae weight for the contest.
On the scales the champion was well under the limit, at 145.5lbs, and looked the much smaller man, though that was also the case when the men first fought. Lagumbay isn't a natural Welterweight but he has nasty power and if he can land cleanly he can hurt Obara as we saw in their first bout.
Obara on the other hand was bang on the Welterweight limit of 147lbs, and at today's weigh in he seemed to suggest that he was going for a KO, rather than just hunting a win to avenge his loss.
The bout is set to be televised on tape delay this coming weekend on Fuji TV as part of their Diamond Glove series of shows.
Related - Lagumbay and Obara go again!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this year we saw the Japanese Featherweight title change hands, with Taiki Minamoto (15-5, 12) [源大輝] becoming the new champion courtesy of a brilliant performance against Takenori Ohashi [大橋健典] to claim the belt. We've known for a while that he would be making his first defense on August 9th at Korakuen Hall, as part of a double header alongside the rematch between Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17) [小原 佳太] and Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9).
Although we knew when and where Minamoto would be defending his title his opponent wasn't announced, at least not until today.
After several weeks of waiting we finally saw Minamoto's opoonent being announced as former national title challenger Tatsuya Otsubo (12-8-1, 4) [大坪竜也].
The challenger is best known for his 2015 loss to Satoshi Hosono ina bout for the Japanese Featherweight title. That loss would be followed by another defeat, to Han Jo in Korea, but since then he has gone 4-0 (1), scoring two notable wins over Ryuto Araya. This bout looks to be another very tough title challenge for Otsubo, but he should ask question of Minamoto, who looked sensational against Ohashi but hasn't shown amazing consistency through his career.
This bout will be part of a Diamond Glove show and will be featured, in some form on Fuji TV on a delay basis.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall got the latest in the "Diamond Glove" shows, which are done in associate with Fuji TV, who will show today's card this coming weekend. That show was a really good triple header and also a chance to announce a future Diamond Glove card, set for August 9th.
The upcoming card hard several bouts from it being confirmed.
The chief support bout of that card will see Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (15-5, 12) [源大輝] make his first defense, after having won the title in a sensational performance back in April against Takenori Ohashi [大橋健典]. At the moment Minamoto's opponent hasn't been announced, but there is some very interesting domestic options out there for the champion, who really did impress against Ohashi. Those include potential bouts with the likes of Reiya Abe (17-2, 8) [阿部 麗也] or Tsuyoshi Tameda (17-3-2, 15) [溜田 剛士], both of whom would make for very credible and very exciting challengers.
The main event of the card will be a rematch of a bout that ended in spectacular fashion earlier this year, with former world title challenger Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17) [小原 佳太] seeking to avenge his shock upset loss to Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9). For those who can't remember that bout both men were dropped at the same time, with Obara being unable to continue following the rare double knockdown, and losing the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title to Lagumbay.
As is typically the case with these Diamond Glove cards this show will have some tape delayed footage shown on Fuji TV.
More bouts are expected to be added to this card in the coming weeks, and fans should expect at leats one more notable name to be on the show before it takes place.
For those who haven't seen the first Obara Vs Lagumbay bout, or Minamoto's win over Ohashi we have included both below.
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