LIVE STREAM: Turarov vs. Godoy, Oubaali vs. Villanueva
By Mark Eisner: WBC World bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali and challenger Arthur Villanueva successfully weighed in on Friday for their fight this Saturday night on ESPN+ at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The undefeated Oubaali (15-0, 11 KOs) weighed in at 117 1/4 pounds for his first defense of his World Boxing Council 118 pound title.
Oubaali’s opponent 30-year-old Villanueva (32-3-1, 18 KOs) weighed in at 117 1/4 pounds as well. Both fighters looked in top shape and ready to do battle on Saturday night in Kazakhstan. This is a voluntary defense for Oubaali in defending his WBC 118 pound title against bottom ranked #15 WBC Villanueva. Oubaali’s management selected someone that they feel comfortable with in picking Villanueva from rock bottom of the WBC’s top 15 rankings.
Villanueva gives France’s Oubaali his best shot at keeping his WBC title for a little while before he has to defend against former WBC champion Luis Nery, who will likely take the belt from him. Nery is looking unbeatable right now, and it’s going to take someone special to beat him. Oubaali is probably not the guy to do the job. France’s Oubaali will be hard-pressed to do anything against Nery when the time comes for them to face each other. There’s also a chance that Oubaali will face WBA ‘regular’ bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue if he beats WBA Super World 118 pound champion Nonito Donaire in the final of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament. Those two still don’t have a date for when they’ll be fighting each other in the WBSS tournament final.
2008 Olympian Oubaali, 32, is the favorite to win this fight against Villanueva, but that isn’t saying much. Villanueva has lost two out of his last five fights in defeats to Nery and Zolani Tete. Nery stopped Villanueva in six rounds in November 2017. Villanueva was also beaten by McJoe Arroyo in 2015. This is more of a soft title defense for Oubaali in defending against Villanueva in order not to mess up the money fight against Nery or Inoue-Donaire winner.
Oubaali recently captured the WBC bantamweight belt last January in defeating Raushee Warren (16-3, 4 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in Las Vegas, Nevada. This fight could prove to be a difficult one for Oubaali, because Villanueva is highly motivated to win.
Zhankosh Turarov vs. Mauro Maximiliano Godoy
In other weights on the card, Zhankosh Turarov (23-0, 16 KOs) weighed in at 139 3/4 pounds for his fight against Mauro Maximiliano Godoy (31-4-1, 16 KOs). Those two will be fighting in the main event for the vacant World Boxing Organisation Inter-Continental Welterweight title. Godoy weighed in at 139 1/2 pounds.
Other weights on the card
Viktor Kotochigov 134.9 vs. Jairo Lopez 134
Davey Oliver Joyce 127.4 vs. Breilor Teran 126.3
Nurtas Azhbenov 136.7 vs. Achiko Odikadze 132.3
Abay Tolesh 159.8 vs. Allah Dad Rahimi 160.7
Ali Baloyev 200.2 vs. Hamilton Ventura 192
Sultan Zaurbek 135.6 vs. Giorgi Gachechiladze 133.2
Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev 154.5 vs. Elvin Akhundzada 153.2
Hasibullah Ahmadi 125.4 vs. Arega Yunian 125.4