Otabek Kholmatov Steps Closer to Title Shot with WBA Ordering
The WBA has named top featherweight contender Otabek Kholmatov (11-0, 10KO) as the mandatory challenger to WBA champion Mauricio “Bronco” Lara (26-2-1, 19KO).
On March 4, Kholmatov scored a knockout in impressive fashion for his United Kingdom debut over number-one contender Thomas Patrick Ward. The little-known Uzbekistani wiped the floor with Ward, scoring three knockdowns before the corner finally stopped the fight in the fifth round.
According to the WBA, they have notified Team Kholmatov of the news.
“The World Boxing Association Championships Committee sent notification to Otabek Kholmatov and his team stating that the Uzbek has been named the mandatory challenger in the 126lb division.”
“Following his victory over Thomas Patrick Ward in the final eliminator, the Uzbek is now the official challenger to the title currently held by Mexico’s Mauricio Lara.”
Kholmatov is a decorated amateur. He won the gold medal in the 2016 Asian Championship as well as a bronze medal in the World championship in 2017. Since entering the professional ranks, he has stopped all but one opponent en route to claiming the right to fight for a championship.
On February 18, Bronco finally became a world champion after defeating Leigh “Leigh-thal” Wood in front of the hometown fans. During the post-fight interview, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that there was a rematch clause.
Kholmatov has proven to be a problem in the featherweight division and is now ever-closer to a title fight.