A featherweight title fight whose pairing was months in the making is now headed to a purse bid hearing.
The respective teams for Otabek Kholmatov and Raymond Ford were unable to make use of their assigned 30-day negotiation period for their ordered vacant WBA featherweight title fight. The bout will now head to a purse bid which the WBA has scheduled for November 27 via Zoom as administered from its stateside office in Houston, Texas.
Both boxers will be due 50 percent of the winning bid, as the two highest ranked contenders. The winner of their eventual bout will fill the void left behind recent two-time title claimant Leigh Wood.
Uzbekistan’s Kholmatov (11-0, 10KOs) has been out since a fifth-round knockout of unbeaten Thomas Patrick Ward in their title eliminator on March 4 in Newcastle, England. The bout was his first in nearly a year, when he soundly outpointed undefeated Adranik Grigorjan last March 26 in Orlando, Florida.
Ford (14-0-1, 7KOs; 1NC) is on the verge of his first one-fight campaign as a pro. The 24-year-old southpaw from Camden, New Jersey has been out since an April 8 win over former titlist Jessie Magdaleno on April 8 in San Antonio Texas,
Prior to and after the win over Magdaleno, Ford called for a showdown versus Kholmatov, regardless of the stakes. Kholmatov was previously ordered to next face Wood, who was instead permitted to enter a voluntary title defense versus former two-time featherweight Josh Warrington. Wood scored a dramatic, 9th round knockout to retain the WBA featherweight title.
The winner of the bout will likely have to make a mandatory title defense. The WBA has already ordered a title eliminator between Victor Morales and Luis Nunez to determine the next number-one contender.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox