Kholmatov vs. Ford - ESPN+ - March 2 - 9 pm ET

Kholmatov vs. Ford – ESPN+ – March 2 – 9 pm ET

Featherweight Madness: Otabek Kholmatov-Raymond Ford & Venado Lopez-Reiya Abe World Title Doubleheader Set for March 2 at Turning Stone Resort Casino LIVE on ESPN+ – Tickets on sale Thursday, December 21 at 10 a.m. ET via

The featherweight division is about to strut its stuff in a rip-roaring world title double-whammy on Saturday, March 2 at Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, New York.

Topping the bill, Uzbek sensation Otabek Kholmatov squares off with Raymond Ford for the up-for-grabs WBA featherweight world title. This clash of undefeated lefties sees the WBA’s top dogs duking it out for their first taste of world title glory.

Playing second fiddle, Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez puts his IBF world bling on the line against Japan’s own Reiya Abe.

Kholmatov vs. Ford & Lopez vs. Abe are set to headline a jam-packed event, streaming live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.

Peddled by Top Rank, tickets hit the market Thursday, December 21 at 10 a.m. ET. Snatch them up at Turning Stone Resort Casino Box Office, ring up 800.771.7711, or dive into the online Ticketmaster pool.

“Kholmatov and Ford are itching for that WBA world title like cats after cream. It’s a genuine toss-up,” quipped Top Rank bigwig Bob Arum. “Lopez is convinced he’s the king of the featherweight jungle, and he’s itching to prove it against Abe. Those lucky ducks at Turning Stone are in for a treat.”

Kholmatov (11-0, 10 KOs), a former amateur hotshot, burst onto the pro scene in August 2021, racking up nine wins faster than you can say ‘knockout.’ This 25-year-old southpaw then took down the then-undefeated Andranik Grigorian in March 2022. Last seen in the ring making British contender Thomas Patrick Ward wish he’d stayed home, Kholmatov’s power sent Ward packing in the fifth round.

“This is the shot I’ve been drooling over,” Kholmatov declared. “Come March 2, I’ll be the new WBA featherweight champ, no ifs or buts.”

Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs), a two-time national Golden Gloves hotshot, traded his amateur gloves for the pro life in March 2019. With just one hiccup, a draw against the then-untouched Aaron Perez, this 24-year-old from Camden, New Jersey, has since been on a tear, knocking out contenders left and right.

Ford’s response? “I’m so over talking about this fight. I’ve been grinding my whole life for this moment, and come March 2, I’ll be the one with the belt.”

Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs), Mexicali’s very own, snatched the IBF title from Josh Warrington’s grasp last December. Since then, he’s been on a whirlwind tour, stopping Michael Conlan and outboxing Joet Gonzalez.

“My eyes are on Abe,” Lopez stated. “March 2 is all about defending my title and setting up a showdown with any champ brave enough to face me.”

Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs), the IBF’s numero uno, bounced back from early setbacks to dominate Ren Sasaki in 2020. This 30-year-old lefty is riding a hot streak, last seen outpointing Kiko Martinez in a world title eliminator.

“I’m coming to grab that world title,” Abe vowed. “Lopez is a mountain, but I’m bringing a world championship back to Japan.”

Venado Lopez: “It’s Going To Be a War!”

Luis Alberto Lopez, with a glint of battle in his eyes, is all set to transform his third world title defense into an endurance contest straight out of a gladiator movie.

This Saturday, amidst the buzz of slot machines and the neon glow of Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, Lopez will put his IBF featherweight crown on the line against Reiya Abe, hailing from the land of the rising sun.

The Lopez-Abe clash is the appetizer before the main course, featuring Uzbek sensation Otabek Kholmatov and American hotshot Raymond Ford duking it out for the vacant WBA featherweight championship.

With Top Rank playing puppet master, tickets are flying off the shelves. Fans can snag their spot in the arena through various means, including a good old-fashioned phone call or a few clicks on Ticketmaster.

The doubleheader of Kholmatov-Ford & Lopez-Abe promises to light up screens across the U.S., streaming exclusively on ESPN+.

Lopez, with a record that speaks volumes (29-2, 16 KOs), snatched the IBF title from Josh Warrington on his own turf in Leeds, England, back in December 2022. Since then, he’s been on a victory lap, stopping Michael Conlan in Belfast and outmaneuvering Joet Gonzalez. Now at 30, Lopez is eyeing Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs), who punched his ticket to this showdown by outpointing Kiko Martinez.

Post-punching bag session in Santa Fe Springs, California, Lopez shared some pearls of wisdom:

“Chose LA for camp this time. Close to the fam and the mountains. Great for runs. Feeling top-notch.”

“We’re mirroring Abe’s slippery style with some tall, agile sparring partners. Got a shiner to prove it. We’re on track for a knockout.”

“Abe’s a tough cookie, likes to dodge and weave. But we’re cooking up a storm. Plan’s to light up the ring, aiming for a knockout.”

“Eyeing the unification bout next. Hungry to be a legend before moving up a weight class.”

“To the fans, you know the drill. I’m in there for the thrill, aiming for the kill. Expect nothing less than an all-out brawl. It’s going to be a spectacle, especially once we get past the initial dance.”

Lopez’s words, dripping with determination and a hint of humor, promise a fight night that will be remembered for its sheer intensity and display of skill.


Mar 02 2024


8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Mar 02 2024
  • Time: 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM


Turning Stone Resort Casino Verona, N.Y.


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