WBA orders Leigh Wood to defend against Otabek Kholmatov next
By Charles Brun: Leigh Wood got some bad news today with the WBA ordering him to defend his newly won featherweight title against his unbeaten mandatory challenger Otabek Kholmatov next.
For those who haven’t seen the hard-hitting #1 WBA Kholmatov (11-0, 10 KOs), he’s devasting combination puncher with massive power and a relentless pressure style.
Kholmatov is a blend of Luis Alberto Lopez and Mauricio Lara. He has the power of Lara but the nonstop attacking style of Lopez.
With the way Kholmatov fights, Wood’s chances of finishing the fight on his feet would be slim, even if he were to use the nonstop clinching & running that he employed against Mauricio Lara last aturday8.
Kholmatov is kryptonite for the Wood and someone that would wreck his dreams of a mega-payday fight against Josh Warrington at the City Grounds in September.
At this point, Wood’s only chance of fighting Warrington is if his promoter Eddie Hearn opens his purse and gives the monstrous-punching Kholmatov a generous step-aside payment to get him out of the way.
If Hearn is willing to let Kholmatove wet his beak on some of the gold bullion that Wood will be getting to fight Warrington at the City Grounds in Nottingham, he likely wouldn’t be opposed to stepping aside to allow that match-up to proceed as planned.
If your Kholmatov, you’d want to ask for a generous taste of some of that dough before you agree to step aside.
Kholmatov is a two-year pro from Uzbekistan, and he recently steam-rolled the capable Thomas Patrick Ward last March, knocking him out in five rounds in Newcastle. Ward was down three times, getting dropped in rounds one, four, and five by Kholmatov.
When asked at his post-fight press conference last Saturday night if he’d take the fight with Kholmatov if ordered by the WBA, Wood said he wouldn’t up his title for no one.
Well, he’s Wood’s chance to back up his brave words by facing this knockout artist from Uzbekistan to show that he’s more than talk. Wood seemed to realize what he would get himself into by facing Kholmatov. Hence, he said he would have to talk to his team about it, which some would argue was code language to mean, ‘I don’t want any part of this guy because he’s all wrong for me.’
Kholmatov’s resume lacks talented opposition, but he’s a diamond in the rough. He needs the opposition to bring out the best in him.
The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee ordered the fight between the WBA Featherweight Champion, Leigh Wood, and the number one challenger of the category, Otabek Kholmatov #WBABoxing #WoodKholmatov pic.twitter.com/HrhIypjlL0
— WBA Boxing (@WBABoxing) May 30, 2023
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