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.
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)
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