Kholmatov Ready To Respond To Ford Heartache

Otabek Kholmatov was just seconds from becoming the WBA featherweight champion until Raymond Ford stopped him with seven seconds remaining on the clock. 

Kholmatov and Ford produced throughout their competitive and dramatic fight at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York on March 2.

The Uzbek, 25, was ahead on two of the judges' scorecards by three points until Ford snatched the vacant title with an attack that left Kholmatovl on his feet but unable to defend himself.

“I was confident that I was winning the fight as evidenced by the judges’ scorecards,” Kholmatov told Boxing Scene. “However, I decided to finish the fight by knocking out Ford and ended up taking a punch that determined the outcome of the fight.

“I'm a puncher! It's important for me to put on a good show for my fans and all boxing enthusiasts. This time, I couldn't showcase everything that I'm capable of, but I'm confident my promoter Svyatoslav Mangushev and his team at Undisputed Boxing Championship, along with my manager Alex Vaysfeld – they will help me realize my dream of becoming a world champion. We won’t give up.”

Kholmatov (12-1, 11 KOs) suffered defeat for the first time. He was clearly hurt when stopped, and to the extent the referee Charlie Fitch chose to rescue him instead of issuing a count. 

“It was his decision, but in my opinion, he should have started the count.” Kholmatov explained. “This is boxing, in any fight boxers take hits, but I was already recovering. This wasn't my best fight, I couldn't utilize all my abilities. My team is disappointed, but we know what we need to work on. There were many mistakes that you won't see in my next fight. This time, luck was on his side, but I didn't show everything that I'm capable of.”

Kholmatov and his team go back to the drawing board after coming out on the wrong side of a Fight of the Year contender. At just 25 years old and only two full years as professional, time is on the side of the featherweight division's latest contender. 

“I'm ready for any fight against any opponent,” Kholmatov added. “I want to prove to everyone that I'm not just a good and interesting boxer, but also capable of beating the best boxer in the world.”