Yesterday evening in the US fight fans had the chance to see an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator, between unbeaten Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (16-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] and Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-4-1, 18) [小原 佳太].
The bout was relatively competitive, at times, but there was no doubting the winner with the Uzbek racking up the early rounds, to cruise in the final stages.
For the most part Abdukakhorov just did that bit more, was the bit smoother, sharper and smarter. He was caught by some solid counters, but Obara struggled to follow up his success as the Uzbek got out of range and reset.
After 12 rounds the judges all favoured the unbeaten Uzbek, who took the decision with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 115-113. The 118-110 card seemed a rather harsh score but the other two were pretty spot on.
For "The Punisher" this win moves him towards a bout with IBF world champion Errol Spence, though on this showing he would be given no real chance against the American champion. For Obara the loss leaves his career hanging by a thread.
Later today Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] and Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太] will face off in an IBF Welterweight title eliminator. Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight.
On the scales the unbeaten Uzbek was 145.8lbs, well under the 147lb limit, whilst the hard hitting Japanese fighter was 146.2lbs.
At the weigh in the Uzbek looked a tad fleshy, but confident and calm. Obara on the other hand looked better physically, but also seemed more tense, likely knowing it's now or never for his career.
Related- Abdukakhorov and Obara battle for mandatory position
(Photo by Mikey Williams)
Later this week we'll see Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] battle against Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太] in an IBF Welterweight title eliminator.
Yesterday, Obara left Japan for the US and for the fight.
Prior to leaving he revealed that he had never seen Rocky prior to the announcement of his bout in Philadelphia, though has since watched the entire series.
Sadly preparation for Obara hasn't been idea. About a week ago he developed cold sores and stopped his training for a few days, and the plane to Detroit was delayed by a couple of hours. Despite those setbacks he did seem confident and took things in his stride.
Related - Abdukakhorov and Obara battle for mandatory position
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We've known for a while that unbeaten Uzbek Welterweight contender Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] would be taking on Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太] on March 30th in Philadelphia, in an IBF Welterweight title eliminator.
Today, ahead of that bout, Obara took part in a special event in Japan to speak about the contest.
Obara seemed to suggest that this was the toughest fight of his career, in part due to the Uzbek's strong amateur credentials and style, though he did suggest that he could score a KO if he fights to his best. He also acknowledged that he's 33 this year, and it does sound like he's aware he's no spring chicken.
To prepare for this bout he has 150 rounds, but it's fair to say that Obara, who is 0-2-1 outside of Japan, will still be the under-dog against the unbeaten and skilled Abdukakhorov.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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.
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