By Francisco Salazar
After fighting as a lightweight for most of his pro career, Ismael Barroso is likely one fight away from fighting for a world title belt at 140 pounds.
Barroso will have to go through contender Batyr Akhmedov Saturday night at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.
The 12 round bout is a WBA elimination bout and a regional title belt will be on the line between two hard-hitting fighters that could produce multiple knockdowns.
Barroso (20-2-2, 19 knockouts), who is originally from Venezuela and now resides in Miami, Florida, is an aggressive southpaw who comes forward. In his last bout on May 12, Barroso lost a 12 round unanimous decision to Isa Chaniev in a fight many thought was closer than the scorecards indicated (two judges scored the bout 117-109 and 117-108 for Chaniev) or that Barroso did enough to win.
Barroso's other loss came in May of 2016 at the hands of then-WBA lightweight titleholder Anthony Crolla. Barroso was up on the scorecards before Crolla knocked out Barroso in round seven with a right to the body.
The 35-year-old will be a significant step-up in opposition for Akhmedov, who is managed by Vadim Kornilov.
Akhmedov (4-0, 3 KOs), who is originally from Uzbekistan and now trains with Joel Diaz in Indio, California, stopped Oscar Barajas in round three of his last bout on Apr. 21.
Akhmedov is currently ranked number eight by the WBA. Barroso recently entered the rankings at number 15.
Lightweight Ricardo Valdovinos (7-0, 5 KOs) from San Diego will square off against Alejandro Ochoa (8-17-3, 1 KO) in a six round bout.
Lightweight Israel Mercado (4-0, 4 KOs) from nearby Pomona will face Thomas Herrera (9-19-1, 6 KOs) in a four round bout.
Longtime local boxing promoter Ed Holmes is promoting the card.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper.