Late fight heroics! Ford rallies to stop Kholmatov in final seconds, takes WBA title

Late fight heroics! Ford rallies to stop Kholmatov in final seconds, takes WBA title

Raymond Ford 15-0-1, (8 KOs) won the WBA featherweight title tonight, and had to do it in the most dramatics of fashions as it appeared the fight was slipping away from him down the stretch.

Ford got off to a bit of a slow start, with Otabek Kholmatov (12-1, 11 KO) taking the first four rounds on my unofficial scorecard. Ford, however, made a necessary adjustment and in the fifth round he starting walking down Kholmatov and making him be the one to step backwards and in doing so was able to mount some good offense.

That approach won Ford the next four rounds for me, bringing the fight even through eight. Ford’s momentum seemed to have waned at that point though, as Kholmatov started getting a second wind and won some later rounds to where Ford literally needed a stoppage to win the fight based upon the official judges scorecards, not to mention suffering a cut on his cheekbone from an accidental clash of heads.

Heading into the final round Kholmatov was up enough on points to only really need to run out the clock, and he more or less tried to do so until Ford landed the one big shot in final minute causing Kholmatov to stumble, bounce of the ropes and hit the canvas after falling into a clinch.

The referee deemed that a slip, however, but Ford immediately jumped on his and landed another big shot that had Kholmatov nearly turn his back on the fight before Ford followed up with a flurry that forced the referee to stop the match with only seven seconds left on the clock.

An emotional Ford said in the post-fight interview that he’s already considering a move up in weight after winning this world title, given how difficult it was for him to make weight for this match.

Kholmatov vs Ford highlights

Luis Alberto Lopez TKO-8 Reiya Abe

Luis Alberto Lopez (30-2, 17 KO) handled his business tonight on ESPN+, aided by an early left hook where a thumb would catch the right eye of Reiya Abe (25-4-1, 10 KO), causing it to almost immediately swell shut. With Abe on the defensive, Lopez showed no respect for any of the punches coming back at him, and continually stalked Abe over eight rounds, strafing Abe with power shots along the way until an eighth round flurry forced the referee to stop the fight at the 0:39 minute mark.

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