Live Boxing Tonight: Kholmatov vs. Raymond Ford on ESPN+

03/02/2024 - No comments

Kholmatov-Ford & Lopez-Abe headline a loaded bill from Turning Stone Resort Casino LIVE on ESPN+ at 5:20 p.m. ET/2:20 p.m. PT

This Saturday, March 2, at the Turning Stone Resort Casino, it’s going to be an all-out brawl as Uzbek sensation Otabek Kholmatov (12-0, 11 KOs) squares up against America’s own Raymond Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant WBA featherweight crown. Brace yourselves for a showdown where punches will fly and only one will emerge as the featherweight king.

In this clash of the undefeated southpaws, we’ve got the WBA’s top dogs, the No.1 and No. 2 contenders, throwing down in their debut world title fight. Talk about a high-stakes game of fisticuffs!

But wait, the excitement doesn’t stop there. Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs), also known as “El Venado,” is set to defend his IBF featherweight title against Japan’s Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs) in a fight that’s anything but a walk in the park for both warriors.

The Kholmatov-Ford & Lopez-Abe double-header tops a jam-packed card that’s going to light up ESPN+ live and directly, starting from 5:20 p.m. ET/2:20 p.m. PT. The co-feature is expected to roll out around 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, so don’t wander off too far.

The streaming spectacle on ESPN+ isn’t just about the featherweights. Welterweight Brian Norman Jr. (25-0, 19 KOs) is all set to duke it out with Janelson Bocachica (17-2-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round thriller, and middleweight hopeful Nico Ali Walsh (9-1, 5 KOs) is gearing up for a six-round scrap against Charles Stanford (7-5, 4 KOs).

Thanks to Top Rank’s promotion, you can grab your tickets at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Box Office, hit up the phone lines at 800.771.7711, or snag them online at Ticketmaster.com

Brian Norman Jr., after thumping three rivals into submission last year, is revving up for a knockout 2024. This welterweight wonder is set to throw down with Janelson Bocachica in a ten-round rumble on Saturday, March 2, at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. This tussle is just the appetizer before the main course: the vacant WBA featherweight world title scrap between Uzbek sensation Otabek Kholmatov and the USA’s own Raymond Ford.

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Meanwhile, Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez, hailing from Mexico, will put his IBF title on the line against Japan’s rising star Reiya Abe in a co-feature clash.

Now, let’s talk about Norman (25-0, 19 KOs). This guy punched his way into the pro scene in January 2018 and stacked up 11 wins in his first year of getting paid to pummel people. In 2021, he kept busy with four fights, including a blink-and-you-miss-it first-round TKO against Roque Agustin Junco. After chilling out for a year, he came back with a vengeance in 2023, clinching a regional title against Quinton Randall. Bocachica (17-2-1, 11 KOs), on the other hand, started strong, handed Mark Reyes Jr. his first pro loss, but then got a taste of defeat himself against Alberto Palmetta.

The undercard’s a mixed bag of up-and-comers and a local hero making a comeback:

Duke Ragan (9-0, 1 KO), the U.S. Olympic silver medalist, will duke it out in an eight-round featherweight bash against Colombia’s Brandon Valdes (15-4, 7 KOs). This Cincinnati native is fresh off a narrow victory against Jose Perez.

In a junior welterweight showdown, Dominican Olympian Rohan Polanco (11-0, 7 KOs) will trade leather with Tarik Zaina (13-0-1, 8 KOs). Both are undefeated and hungry for more glory.

Troy Isley (11-0, 4 KOs), another U.S. Olympian, will square up against Marcos Hernandez (16-6-2, 3 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout. Isley’s riding high from a unanimous decision win over Vladimir Hernandez.

Heavyweight prospect Brandon Moore (13-0, 8 KOs) faces Helaman Olguin (9-6-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Moore’s looking to build on his Top Rank debut win over Robert Simms.

Floyd Diaz (10-0, 3 KOs) will try to keep his perfect record intact against the crafty Edwin Rodriguez (12-7-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight fight. Diaz last outboxed Max Ornelas for a regional title.

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Middleweight hopeful Nico Ali Walsh (9-1, 5 KOs), grandson of “The Greatest,” steps into 2024 with a six-rounder against a yet-to-be-named challenger. He’s fresh off a points victory over Noel Lafargue.

And finally, junior welterweight Bryce Mills (14-1, 5 KOs), a local lad from Liverpool, New York, will go toe-to-toe with Gerffred Ngayot (6-1, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder.

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Weights:

(ESPN+, Kicks off at 5:20 p.m. ET/2:20 p.m. PT)

  • Otabek Kholmatov hits the scales at 125.8 lbs, squaring off against Raymond Ford, who’s a hair’s breadth heavier at 125.9 lbs. They’re vying for the vacant WBA Featherweight World Title over a grueling 12 rounds.
  • Luis Alberto Lopez, weighing in at 125.3 lbs, is set to defend his IBF Featherweight World Title against Reiya Abe, who’s close behind at 125.8 lbs, in another 12-round contest.
  • In the Welterweight division for a 10-round bout, Brian Norman Jr. tips the scales at 147.2 lbs, facing Janelson Bocachica, who’s slightly lighter at 146.6 lbs.
  • Bryce Mills and Gerffred Ngayot both recorded a weight of 138.7 lbs, setting the stage for an evenly matched Junior Welterweight fight over 6 rounds.
  • Middleweight action sees Troy Isley weighing in at 159.3 lbs, going up against Marcos Hernandez, who’s a tad heavier at 160.6 lbs, for an 8-round fight.
  • Rohan Polanco and Tarik Zaina are almost mirror images in weight at 142.9 lbs and 142.4 lbs respectively, ready to duke it out in the Junior Welterweight division over 8 rounds.
  • Floyd Diaz is ready at 118 lbs to take on Edwin Rodriguez, who’s just under at 117.8 lbs, in an 8-round Bantamweight clash.
  • Nico Ali Walsh steps onto the scale at 156.9 lbs, preparing to face Charles Stanford, who’s slightly lighter at 155.1 lbs, in a Middleweight bout set for 6 rounds.
  • In the Heavyweight class for an 8-round battle, Brandon Moore weighs in at 242 lbs, while Helaman Olguin brings more to the ring at 281.7 lbs.