Kudratillo Abdukakhorov will end a disappointing 2020 campaign without a fight or a promoter.
The unbeaten welterweight contender is officially a promotional free agent, having amicably split with Top Rank on Friday. Abdukakhorov will enter 2021 in search of a new promoter along with the intention of campaigning in the United States.
"Kudratillo has left Top Rank as of [Friday],” Vikram Swapragasm, Abdukakhorov’s manager told BoxingScene.com. “We parted on good terms.”
Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9KOs) entered a three-fight agreement with Top Rank in February 2019, with two fights taking place in 2019 which positioned the Uzbekistan-born welterweight into title contention. An interim title fight with Sergey Lipinets was in the works since last fall, though in search of a date for months and then further delayed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The two were due to meet this past October, with the winner to secure a shot at unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence. Their bout never saw the light of day, however, as Abdukakhorov was unable to secure a travel visa in time to honor the scheduled Showtime event. He was replaced by Canada’s Custio Clayton, who held Lipinets to a 12-round draw and thus failing to crown an interim titlist.
Abdukakhorov entered 2020 as the mandatory challenger to Spence’s IBF title. The interim title fight with Lipinets was granted by the IBF due to the uncertainty at the time of Spence’s ability to return to the ring to honor such a fight.
Prior to that point, Abdukakhorov registered his two most significant wins of his career. Both came in the United States—both in Philadelphia, in fact—and under the Top Rank banner, outpointing Keita Obara last March to earn his mandatory contender status. Seven months later came Abdukakhorov’s last ring appearance, claiming a clear-cut 10-round decision win over former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo last October.
Following the fallout with the Lipinets bout came little movement in his future prospects. With that came the decision made by his team to take the 27-year old boxer’s career in a different direction. Swapragasm agreed to buy out Abdukakhorov from the one remaining fight on his contract, in an effort to enjoy a fresh start in the year ahead along with bringing him stateside as to avoid any further delays.
“We are very thankful to Bob Arum and top rank for giving us the exposure in the USA,” Swapragasm told BoxingScene.com. “As of now, Kudratillo is a free agent and he is in the USA.
“We are going to sign with a top promoter very soon to have him fight more frequently.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox