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Eddie Hearn wants Leigh Wood to swerve mandatory Kholmatov, fight Warrington then vacate WBA belt

Image: Eddie Hearn wants Leigh Wood to swerve mandatory Kholmatov, fight Warrington then vacate WBA belt

By Charles Brun:  Eddie Hearn wants the WBA to allow featherweight champion Leigh Wood to swerve his recently WBA-ordered mandatory Otabek Kholmatov to be allowed to defend against Josh Warrington next, then vacate the strap so that Raymond Ford, a Matchroom fighter, would then be the one that faces the dangerous Kholmatov.

According to talkSPORT, after Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) defended his WBA against Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs), the title would then be vacated, freeing it up for #1 Kholmatov (11-0, 10 KOs) and #2 Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs) to fight over it.

In other words, the WBA title will be used as a temporary prop to validate the Wood vs. Warrington to bring value to the fight, make it look credible, and then be vacated so that Leigh doesn’t fight the dangerous 24-year-old knockout artist Kholmatov.

It’s frankly pathetic that Hearn wants the WBA to help his fighter Leigh Wood circumvent ordered mandatory challenger Kholmatov just so that the title will be at stake for the Josh Warrington fight in September at the City Grounds in Nottingham.

Hopefully, the WBA tells Hearn that Wood CAN’T swerve his mandatory Kholmatov and that he must take this fight next or vacate the belt.

It will be a sad statement about boxing if the WBA indulges Hearn in his scheme, as it’s not even sporting. If he feels Wood lacks the talent to beat Kholmatov, he should have him vacate the WBA title now, then face Warrington at the City Grounds.

Making Kholmatov wait until after the Wood-Warrington clash to battle for a then-vacated WBA 126-lb title against Ford is sad. That belt should be vacated before the Warrington fight rather than after.

Warrington hardly deserves a title shot at the WBA belt, given that he’s coming off a twelve round unanimous decision loss to Luis Alberto Lopez last December in Leeds. That was a fight in which Warrington was fouling like crazy, particularly in the second half of the contest.

Hearn has already said that he’s certain that Raymond Ford beats Kholmatov. Indeed, he’s so sure that Ford wins that he says he’d bet his house on that happening. It’s unclear how Hearn can be so certain Ford would defeat Kholmatov.

Having seen Ford fight, he’s hardly unbeatable. He gets hit a lot and already has a draw on his record against Aaron Perez, which you can argue should have been a loss. He could fall apart if the heavy-handed Kholmatov nails Ford with shots all night.



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