Venado Lopez vs Reiya Abe, Otabek Kholmatov vs. Raymond Ford Press Quotes

03/01/2024 - No comments

Otabek Kholmatov vs. Raymond Ford – Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Reiya Abe Saturday, March 2, 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT Live and Exclusively on ESPN+

Luis Lopez is all set to turn his third world title defense into an outright melee. In the main event, Uzbek phenom Otabek Kholmatov will fight Raymond Ford for the vacant WBA featherweight world title. This duel of unbeaten southpaws will see the WBA’s No.1 and No. 2 contenders making their inaugural world title appearances.

On March 2, at the cozy confines of Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, Lopez will put his IBF featherweight crown on the line against Reiya Abe from Japan.

The Lopez-Abe clash will play second fiddle to the main event, a clash for the vacant WBA featherweight belt between Uzbek sensation Otabek Kholmatov and the American hotshot Raymond Ford.

Brought to you by Top Rank, the tickets are ripe for the picking at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Box Office, or for those glued to their phones, a quick call to 800.771.7711 or a visit to should do the trick.

The doubleheader featuring Kholmatov-Ford & Lopez-Abe promises to be a feast for fight fans, streaming live and in living color on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Otabek Kholmatov’s gearing up for the fight of his life this Saturday, and it’s not just talk. He’s been in the trenches, dreaming about this moment since he could lace up gloves. “I’ve lived and breathed fighting, and come Saturday, I’m bringing the storm,” he says with a fire in his eyes.

He’s not just ready; he’s overprepared. With top-notch sparring sessions and a dream team of coaches behind him, Kholmatov’s in prime shape. “This isn’t just any fight; it’s the golden ticket to becoming the undisputed champion. And that’s the mountain I plan to conquer.”

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Raymond Ford’s on cloud nine, feeling like destiny’s knocking at his door. “This is more than a fight; it’s my life’s work. And I’m not about to let this chance slip through my fingers,” he declares, eyes ablaze with determination.

Ford’s got an ace up his sleeve, training alongside Shakur Stevenson, who’s been more like a mentor to him. “Training’s been a whole new level of intense. Being away from home, away from all distractions, it’s sharpened my focus like never before.”

He’s eyeing the featherweight title but is already plotting his next move. “I’ll stick around for a blockbuster fight at 126, but it’s got to be worth my while. Otherwise, I’m heading to 130,” Ford states, laying down his terms.

Luis Alberto Lopez is practically vibrating with anticipation, itching to defend his title. “I’m here to deliver a spectacle, make no mistake,” he says, confidence oozing from every word.

He’s got his opponent’s number, ready to counter his every move. “If he thinks he can dance around and snatch the title, he’s got another thing coming. I’m ending this early,” Lopez vows, ready to lay it all on the line for victory.

Lopez isn’t just defending; he’s on the hunt for more. “I’ve been calling out champions left and right. I’m all in for a unification fight. It’s not just good for me; it’s explosive for my career,” he asserts, eyes on the prize.

Reiya Abe, on the other hand, is calm and collected, ready to upset the apple cart. “Lopez is a respectable champion, but it’s my time to shine at 126,” Abe declares, unwavering in his belief.

He’s carrying the hopes of Japan on his shoulders, aware of the growing expectations. “The pressure’s on, but it’s the kind of pressure that forges champions. I’m ready to make my mark and bring glory back home,” Abe states, his resolve as strong as steel.

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Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs), the pride of Mexicali, Mexico, snatched the IBF title from Josh Warrington in his own backyard of Leeds, England, back in December 2022. Not one to rest on his laurels, he trotted over to Belfast to hand Michael Conlan a fifth-round TKO, before schooling Joet Gonzalez for a unanimous nod last September. Now at 30, he’s eyeing to dispatch his mandatory challenger Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs), fresh off a decision win over Kiko Martinez, and set his sights on featherweight supremacy.

Post-punching session in Santa Fe Springs, California, Lopez spilled the beans:

“Opted for Los Angeles for camp this time, keeps me close to the clan and the mountain air. Plenty of trails to pound here, and I’m feeling top-notch.”

“We’ve roped in some lanky southpaws that know their way around the ring, mirroring Abe’s elusive dance. Cutting the ring is the game plan, prepping to corner Abe and his fancy footwork.”

“Abe’s more of a hit-and-not-get-hit kind of guy, hard to pin down in the early goes. But with the sparring mates we’ve got, one of whom left me a shiner as a souvenir, we’re on track. Aiming to end this with Abe counting stars.”

“Looking beyond Abe, it’s about collecting belts like it’s going out of style, then maybe jumping up to 130 pounds to mix it up there.”

“To the fans, you know the drill – I’m there to bring the thunder, aiming to end it with a bang. Sure, it might get tricky at the start, but when I step through those ropes, it’s nothing short of a battle royale.