Two featherweight title fights land on March 2nd card

Two featherweight title fights are heading to Verona, New York, as a Top Rank on ESPN+ card will take place on Saturday, March 2 from the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Otabek Kholmatov, who recently signed with Top Rank, tops the bill against the Matchroom-promoted Raymond Ford in a bout that has the vacant WBA featherweight world title on the line.
This will see the top two fighters, according to the WBA rankings, facing each other after the previous champion, Leigh Wood, vacated.
The co-feature sees the IBF featherweight champion, Luis Alberto Lopez, making a mandatory title defense against Reiya Abe.
“Kholmatov and Ford are deserving challengers for the WBA world title. That is a true 50/50 fight,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Lopez believes he is the top featherweight in the world, and I know he’ll want to make a huge statement against a tough out in Abe. The fans at Turning Stone Resort Casino will be in for a real treat.”
Kholmatov has won eleven fights with ten coming by way of knockout. His most notable win came when he stopped Thomas Patrick Ward. Ford has broken out of the prospect stage of his career with a recent victory over former world champion, Jessie Magdaleno.

“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for, and I will be ready,” Kholmatov, said. “I have no doubt. On March 2, I will become the new WBA featherweight champion of the world.”
Lopez has spent his career as a road warrior. Defeating Gabriel Flores Jr., and Issac Lowe to land a title shot, Lopez defeated Josh Warrington in his hometown of Leeds. Lopez knocked out Michael Conlan and defeated Joet Gonzalez in 2023.

“My team and I are focused on Reiya Abe," said Lopez. "I’m going to make my third title defense on March 2, and we’ll be focused on obtaining the victory and making a statement in order to get a unification fight against whomever is available.”