Ford stops Kholmatov, Lopez halts Abe

By Boxing Bob Newman at ringside

In a clash for the WBA featherweight title, WBA #2 Raymond “Savage” Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs) scored a dramatic twelfth round stoppage against #1 rated Otabek Kholmatov (12-1, 11 KOs) to claim the vacant belt on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Tough back and forth action between excellent unbeaten fighters. Rounds were close. Ford rocked Kholmatov with seconds left in the fight and referee Charlie Fitch waved it off with seven seconds remaining. Entering the final round, Ford was down 106-103 on two cards and ahead 105-104 on the third card. Great fight!

Ford 6
Photo: Bob Newman

Reigning IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez (30-2, 17 KOs) successfully defended his world title against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (25-4-1, 10 KOs) via eighth round TKO. Abe struggled with a closing right eye as Lopez took him apart. The bout was finally waved off by referee Marc Nelson. Time was :39.

Lopez 1
Photo: Bob Newman

Undefeated Brian Norman, Jr. (Atlanta) took on Janelson Bocachica (Detroit) in a scheduled 10 rounder for Norman, Jr’s WBO International title. Things got precarious early as Bocachica was cut badly over his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in round one. With 10 seconds to go in the round, Norman, Jr. moved for the kill and was beautifully countered with a perfect right hand, hitting the deck hard and hurt, but saved by the bell. In round two, two more clashes of heads left Norman, Jr. cut over his right eye and then Bocachica cut, high on his forehead in the hairline, prompting a long delay for the ringside docs to check each man. After a spirited third round, the ringside physician who examined Bocachica again, recommended a halt to the bout, which goes down as a No Decision due to four rounds not being completed.. Norman, Jr. remains at 25-0, 19 KOs, while Bocachiica remains at 17-2-1, 11 KOs.

Once beaten Jr. Welters Bryce Mills (Syracuse) and Gerffred Ngayot (Buffalo, by way of Congo) pitched an interstate battle scheduled for 6 rounds. The local lad Mills, sported the Orange & Blue of Syracuse University and employed a crouching, come forward style reminiscent of local legend Carmen Basilio, It was a pitched battle throughout as Mills kept coming forward and throwing, while Ngayot was busier as a counter puncher. Most at ringside agreed they wouldn’t want to be a judge in this one. Scores were as follows:58-56 and 60-56 twice, all for Mills, who now improves to 15-1, 5 KO. The hard luck Ngayot falls to 6-2, 5 KOs. This one deserves a rematch for sure.

2020 Tokyo Olympian Troy “The Transformer” Isley took on “The Contender” alum Marcos Hernandez in a scheduled 8 round middleweight clash. R Isley goes to Ound after round, Isley pounded away on Hernandez, who proved tough as titanium. Referee Mark Nelson began to take a hard look around round 5, as Hernandez began to look a little worse for wear. Finally, in round 7, a wild overhand right dropped Hernandez hard, rolling on the floor. He beat the count, but referee Nelson had seen enough. Time was 1:30 of the seventh. Isley moves to 12-0, 5 KOs, while Hernandez should call it a day at 16-7-2, 3 KOs.

Rising bantamweight prospect Floyd “Cash Flow” Diaz took on Puerto Rico’s Edwin Rodriguez in a scheduled 8 rounder. It was a tit-for-tat battle as each gave as good as they got, with Diaz doing just a bit more in each round. By round four, Diaz had blood pouring from his nose, courtesy of a hard Rodriguez jab. The pattern of give-and-take continued for all eight rounds, both fighters having earned the respect of the other by the final bell. Scores were as follows: 80-72, 78-74 and 79-73, all for Diaz, now 11-0, 3 KOs. The hard luck Rodriguez falls to 12-8-2, 5 KOs.

In a battle of undefeated Jr. Welters, Rohan Polanco (Dominican Republic) and Tarik Zaina (Morocco) put their sterling records on the line in a scheduled 8 rounder. It was a cot & mouse affair right from the outset as Zaina boxed nicely against Polanco’s straight ahead juggernaut approach. From the second round on, Polanco sported a bloody nose from repeated Zaina jabs. Zaina for his part, weathered two hard shots, one in the 2nd and one in the 5th. Prophetically, the house lights went out in the 7th, prompting referee Benjy Esteves to call time. When the lights came on, Polanco came alive and dropped Zaina with two lefts near Zaina’s corner. Zaina boxed out of trouble and even did well in the eighth until 25 seconds remained when he went down hard, looking as if he wouldn’t beat the count. But beat it he did, surviving a vicious onslaught to end the fight on his .feet. THe judges credited Polanco for his aggression with a 78-72 and 79-71 x 2 score all for Polanco, now 12-0, 7 KOs. Zaina loses his first at 13-1-1, 8 KOs.

Nico Ali Walsh looked to bounce back from his lone professional loss against Charles Stanford, Cincinnati, OH, in a scheduled 6 round middleweight clash. Right from the get-go, Ali Walsh was intent on attacking the body with jabs, crosses and hooks.Standford opted to be a vocal counter puncher, yelling, “HAH” with every punch thrown. At the bell ending the fourth, Stanford went down from missing his own left hook wildly, correctly ruled a slip by ref Mark Nelson.Stanford had his best round in the sixth, landing some telling blows on Ali Walsh, who couldn’t corner his foe long enough capitalize on the body work. In the end, the judges saw it 59-55 and 60-54 x 2 all for Ali Walsh, now 10-1, 5 KOs, Stanford falls to 7-6, 4 KOs.

Heavyweight Brandon Moore of Lakeland, FL, hammered Hellaman Olguiin, Salt Lake City, UT from pillar to post over eight monotonous, sloppy rounds, but could not put the big man down. Scores were 80-72 across the board for Moore, who improves to 14-0, 8 KOs, while Olguin falls to 9-7-1, 4 KOs.


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  • Floyd “Broke Ass” Diaz needs to give it up. He is not good enough to go all the way in this sport. He needs to go back to school or learn a trade.

  • Nico “NOT” Ali Walsh needs to go back to college or learn a trade. Either that, or go home and get his shine box.

    • He is actually looking reasonably good-nothing wrong with seeing how far he can go.

  • Why would Gerffred Ngayot want a rematch when two judges already had their scorecards filled out? This is the kind of thing that makes fighters lose their desire and quit. He never had a chance.

    • Most at ringside gave Ngayot only the fourth round. The fifth MAY have been even.

      • Which proves my point J Russell Peltz. They didn’t even throw him a bone. Being shutout when you earned a round or two makes the loss even worse. Like I said, no matter what he did he woulda got jobbed. Why even train hard and step in in the ring when you’re already shutout on the scorecards before the opening bell?But alas that’s the life of a B side fighter, right..?

  • Nico walsh had a hard time against a guy he was supposed sweep the floor with to make his fake hyped up career look good! He should go against jake paul, ksi or any of those internet boxing wannabe clowns!

  • Currently round 4 between Ford and the Uzbek, and Tim Bradley could not be any more biased lmao. I swear, I can’t see 1/4 of the shit he’s calling for Ford.

    • Timmy calling this fight like he has half his net worth on Ford.

    • It got to the point we’re I just muted the commentary, I was watching a great fight he was watching a one-sided beat down

  • Great fight it’s all I have to say….bravo
    Now that fed my crave of a great fight night

  • Congrats to both guys. Ford got butted in the 11th and fought like a true champ to pull off the victory. Great fight that boxing needs. Two guys equally matched willing to put it on the line. Thanks guys!!!!

  • Kholmatov would have survived that 7 seconds left in the round. Weird, he seemed hurt by the pushdown just prior to the stoppage. When he stood up his legs were unsteady.

  • At first I was angry at the stoppage of the Ford win feeling it was biased local refereeing. But then realizing that the Uzbek fighter has his back to Ford, I realized that the ref may have had no choice. If he had just decided to go down, he would have won a split decision.

    • I think there’s a difference between having your back turned and retreating like Hgorvic did against Zang (not only wasn’t it stopped but Hgorvic also won) and losing your footing sideways but still alert and focusing on where you opponent is.

  • Terrific fight. I had Ford down 7-4 going into final round. How will he match w other champs or best at 130???

  • Otabek Kholmatov made a beaten down Ford look like a Rolls Royce, tonight. To quote Junior Soprano, Kholmatov does not have the makings of a varsity athlete. And in truth, neither does Ford.

    Ford will get totaled in his next fight against Robeisy Ramirez.

  • I knew Kholmatov/Ford was going to be a tough scrap.

    Congrats to Ford for earning a WBA belt.

  • BS early stoppage, Kholmatov ripped of the win and the ref knows it. Ford gets a beat down by the other champs.

    • Ford was awarded / gifted an early stoppage. When Ford pushed Kholmatov to the mat, it’s clear his leg was injured when he stood up. He wasn’t hurt by Fords punches as much as the fall.

  • Abe did not come to fight he came to see what was going to happen in New York , the fight should be stopped earlier regardless his eye was ok to continue ,,…he was just not representing a fight for Lopez , and Lopez did all he had to do , chase him ,hunting and finish him

    Ford vs kholmatov was a good fight , the Uzbekistan was doing a good job and for me he was winning 7 rounds to 4 of ford but he got tired and he did not know how to capitalize the fight .

    Ford did not back up (he did it but very minimum) do you see the difference when you attack now???? In boxing you have to attack in order to win

    Ford showed heart and even when people say he is not ready for a top champions I don’t know …. Ford is a strong fighter and that tool is very dangerous , he looked good and strong but this is hard to say with just one fight , the Europeans don’t have the pedegree for boxing and is deceiving to see them with great records and ackward technique , just like ergashev the guy who fought subriel Matias who had a great record but he got deflated quickly .

    As for right now ford left a good taste and I want to see him again

    Congratulations for the new champ !!!!

    • Good breakdown of the fight Carlos. However, there’s been a lot of European boxers with excellent pedigree. Just saying. Also it’s a shame that Ford is moving up in weight. A unification with Venado would be awesome.

  • with these type 126lb World Champions Naoya Inoue will be picking them apart soon

    • Well now you talking about another class
      If Inoue moves to 126 lbs division he will sweep the floor with all them Espinoza Ramirez ford venado Vargas etc

  • Now I don’t see Rafael Espinoza beating ford , Espinoza is very skinny and I think the only can give a good fight to ford would be robeysi Ramirez

    If ford keep preparing well he might have a good future in 126 lbs

  • This was an in and out at the same time for Ford, because he said after the fight, he struggled mighty to get 126 and he will be fighting at 130 in the future. He felt kind of lethargic the first rounds because the weight cut and believes he would perform better at 130, IMO he will be a nice addition to this already stacked division

  • Lopez, is the worst technical world champion boxer of all time, worse than Ricardo Mayorga, Rolly Romero, and Emmanuel Navarrette. I have never seen a guy have his chin in the air and throw punches from his knees. Isley looks like a bigger Tim Bradley. Those left hooks to the liver were a thing of beauty.

    • Yea but it’s not about technique it’s about numbers
      As long as he keep winning what does the technique matters????

    • Agree DMV, but it works for him so why fix it. IMO it’s his weird technique that makes him hard to figure out. You expect a 1-2-and something else maybe a check -hook from most fighters but not this guy he’s all backwards literally. Hard to train for his style. However I do think he leaves his chin in the air way to often, maybe work on that part a little bit.

  • Carlos; You said European fighters are not that good, essentially. Michael Conlan and Josh Warrington falls into that category. So much for that argument. Boom!!

    • You always taking the things in your convenience
      When I said Europeans was in general not everybody
      Of Europa have had a great great champions
      Like conlan and warrington

  • Great main event…my heart broke for Kholmatov. He is a very entertaining guy to watch and I honestly thought he was winning most of the rounds. I had him further ahead then the judges. I do not know what Bradley was looking at. Credit to Ford for hanging in and not giving up. Normally I hate late stoppages like that but he did turn his back and the ref had to make a quick decision. Heart breaking but I get it. Back to Bradley…I normally find him fair…but he was very biased in this fight. Hope to see both guys in the ring again.

  • Thought ford was going to backing up …if Thought that fourth was going to work up he would backing up he was going to lose the fight. He was going to let khobaltov to take the control of the fight but for his attack and his power that’s why he won the fight He did a great fight.

  • Carlos, we got to see two good fights and some other ones on the undercard. I agree with you, the deer’s technique works for him and awkward fighters are always hard to figure out. Styles makes fights and his is difficult. Don’t worry about DMV, he is always criticizing others when it’s convenient to him. Rarely will he ever back up his nonsense. Mixed feelings on the stoppage, he could have made it, but he turned his back to Ford which they say is a sign of giving up or risk of injury.

    • Yea it was a legit victory for ford
      Khobaltov was walking/stumbling after the fight was stopped so it was a good stoppage
      It was khobaltov fault not to know how to manage the time and the fight after he was close to win by maybe a close margin but ford did his job

      Cheers killa !!!
      lets see what’s coming in for boxing this weekend

  • Savage is right! Even from clips and YouTube one can see this kid has got the goods.

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