Kudratillo Abdukakhorov doesn’t have any problem waiting a little longer for his first career title fight, especially given the current circumstances.
A win over former titlist Luis Collazo last Friday kept the unbeaten welterweight in line for a mandatory shot at undefeated and unified 147-pound title claimant Errol Spence Jr. Such a fight was likely never going to be next, with even less of a chance after Spence (26-0, 21KOs) was involved in a single-car crash earlier this month in downtown Dallas near his hometown of Desoto, Texas, from which he fortunate to only sustain non-life threatening and relatively minor injuries.
The undefeated southpaw was released from the hospital last week, shortly prior to Abdukakhorov’s ESPN-televised win over Collazo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A medical evaluation will determine when he’s fit to the ring, which will be reported to the International Boxing Federation (IBF), whose organizational title Spence has held since 2017 and recently defending in a Fight of the Year-level 12-round nod over Shawn Porter in their unification bout this past September in Los Angeles, California.
The sanctioning body has recognized Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9KOs) as its number one challenger since his clear cut points win over Japan’s Keita Obara this past March, also in Philadelphia.
“Right now, we have to wait to hear from the IBF.” Vikram Swapragasam, Abdukakhorov’s manager told BoxingScene.com. “We’re thrilled to hear that Errol Spence is healthy and released from the hospital. I guess the next step for the IBF is to determine if he’s fit to defend his title, as that would affect our next fight.”
Meanwhile, there is clearance for Abdukakhorov to resume his career without the burden of having to wait around for months for an ordered title fight.
“We are negotiating to get a fight in January or February of 2020,” Swapragasam informed BoxingScene.com. “The IBF granted us permission (writer’s note: defending titlists and mandatory challengers are normally disallowed to take an interim bout once a title fight is ordered) and we plan to keep as active as possible, while also looking to raise Kudratillo’s profile especially in the United States.
Such a tour won’t just come as means to mark time. Among the names mentioned as targeted opponents include former title challenge Jose Benavidez (27-1, 18KOs), who was originally scheduled to face Collazo this past August. A recurring leg injury reaggravated during training camp pushed back those plans, with hopes to reschedule for the very October date which instead went to Abdukakhorov, who in turn scored a 10-round unanimous decision.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Friday’s winner and his team are more than willing to bring the storyline full circle.
“We want to get some big names and continue to grow,” notes Swapragasam. “Jose Benavidez is a perfect choice. We’re both in the same (Top Rank promotional) stable, so that will be a great test while waiting on the IBF’s decision with Spence and to order the fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox