Vargas-Abdukakhorov Eliminator Ordered For Spence Shot

By Keith Idec

The IBF has ordered an elimination match to determine the next mandatory challenger for Errol Spence Jr., its welterweight champion.

The IBF has given Jessie Vargas a Monday deadline, by which he must determine whether he’ll accept a fight against Kudratillo Abdukakhorov that’ll establish its mandatory contender for Spence. Uzbekistan’s Abdukakhorov (15-0, 9 KOs) is ranked No. 4 by the IBF among its 147-pound contenders, one spot below the third-ranked Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs).

The No. 1 position in the IBF’s welterweight rankings is vacant.

jessie-vargas (5)_1

Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) is ranked No. 2 by the IBF and won an IBF elimination match February 17, when he stopped Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson (24-3, 12 KOs) in the seventh round in Las Vegas. Ugas since has won a WBC eliminator – a 12-round unanimous decision over Argentina’s Cesar Barrioneuvo (34-4-2, 24 KOs, 1 NC) on September 8 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn – but Ugas is ranked just No. 6 by the WBC at 147 pounds.

The 29-year-old Vargas, a former WBO welterweight champion and ex-WBA super lightweight title-holder, would represent a step up in competition for the 25-year-old Abdukakhorov, who made his pro debut in October 2015.

Las Vegas’ Vargas fought to a 12-round draw with Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme (24-3-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday night in Chicago. That marked a second straight majority draw for Vargas, whose 12-round welterweight battle with Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) also resulted in two judges scoring their action even April 21 at Barclays Center.

Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, most recently made a mandatory defense of his IBF welterweight title June 16. He knocked out Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (23-1, 14 KOs) in the first round that night at the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility, Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Texas.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by KTFOKING on 10-13-2018

I could be wrong, but I don't think a fighter loses his spot in the rankings with a draw. Hence why Vargas has or will stay at the top of both the IBF and WBC rankings. But he is no…

Comment by otrocubiche on 10-13-2018

Two draws in a row and he is in the final eliminator, had he won those two fights I guess he'd be up for galactic emperor. Looks like a concerted effort to keep Ugas (who is not that great)away from…

Comment by Clegg on 10-13-2018

I'm impressed with the scrabble name guy after watching him a few times. Might not have enough experience but his technique is good, I can see him winning this.

Comment by AdonisCreed on 10-13-2018

Also Vargas better not mess this opportunity up or Hearn is going to regret ever signing him lol

Comment by AdonisCreed on 10-13-2018

They figure they have to put Vargas in with a guy he can actually beat to justify putting him in with Spence lol haha Truth be told I'd rather see Broner vs Spence lol

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