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 week the IBF ordered there next eliminator at Welterweight, and that bout was an interesting one for Uzbek fight fans, as it featured one of the countries numerous rising hopefuls.
The match up the the IBF ordered was a contest between the unbeaten Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] and former world champion Jessie Vargas (28-2-2, 10), who are both ranked in the top 5 by the IBF.
At the moment out Uzbek sources are reporting that Abdukakhorov is intent on taking part in an eliminator, whilst Vargas is said to have requested a few days to assess his position and decide whether it's the route he goes.
The Uzbek hasn't fought since May, when he defeated Twaha Kiduku, but he is a former WBC "Silver" Welterweight champion and already holds notable wins over the likes of Charles Manyuchi and Dmitry Mikhaylenko. Although a solid fighter a bout against Vargas would be a huge step up for the unbeaten man.
Vargas on the other other hand has fought to two draws this year, failing to seperate himself on the cards against either Adrien Broner or Thomas Dulorme. He has however had an interesting career with reins as the WBA Light Welterweight and WBO Welterweight champion, whilst coming up short against Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao.
The winner of this prospective match up would likely face Errol Spence for the IBF Welterweight title in 2019.
(Image courtesy of Olamsport)
Earlier today in Malaysia fight fans had the chance tosee a small, but notable, card at the "One City Grand Ballroom". Although the card wasn't a big one it did feature 4 very promising and unbeaten Uzbek fighters, who all picked up wins and all moved one step closer to bigger, and better, things.
The youngest was 19 year old Ulugbek Sobirov (4-0, 2), who needed just 74 seconds to see off Tanzania's Hamis Mwakinyo (12-7-1, 9). Coming in to this Mwakinyo had been stopped 4 times, including by a debutant in 2013, to this result doesn't really us much about Sobirov, but at 19 years old he is a promising youngster and, on paper at least, this was a step up for him.
Another youngster picking up a quick win was 21 year old Jasur Akhmadjanov (4-0, 3), who took a huge step up in class to defeat former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-8-3, 22). The Uzbek was fighting outside of Tashkent for the first time and scored a 2nd round KO over the Indonesian veteran, who has now been stopped 7 times in 40 bouts. Mukhlis was one of man who challenged Takashi Uchiyama during "KO Dynamite's" WBA world title reign, since losing in 5 to Uchiyama we've seen Mukhlis go 6-5-1, with this being the quickest of those defeats.
Talented Super Middleweight hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (10-0, 4) continued his rise here as he out-pointed Alfonso Tissen (10-2-2, 5) in an 8 rounder. The score cards for this bout were 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 for Abdugofurov who we would expect to see fighting in bigger and better fights shortly, especially given that he scored better wins than this one last year, when he defeated Sirimongkol Singwancha and Martin Fidel Rios.
The other Uzbek was Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (14-0, 9), who retained the World Boxing Council Silver Welterweight Title with a 12 round decision win over Laszlo Toth (25-4-1, 17). The 24 year old Abdukakhorov was deducted a point under the WBC's accidental foul rule, but was still the clear winner, with scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111 to record his second defense of the title and move towards a potential world title fight.
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