Ford stops Kholmatov, Lopez halts Abe » March 3, 2024

Ford stops Kholmatov, Lopez halts Abe » March 3, 2024

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By Boxing Bob Newman at ringside

In a clash for the WBA featherweight title, WBA #2 Raymond “Savage” Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs) scored a dramatic twelfth round stoppage against #1 rated Otabek Kholmatov (12-1, 11 KOs) to claim the vacant belt on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Tough back and forth action between excellent unbeaten fighters. Rounds were close. Ford rocked Kholmatov with seconds left in the fight and referee Charlie Fitch waved it off with seven seconds remaining. Entering the final round, Ford was down 106-103 on two cards and ahead 105-104 on the third card. Great fight!

Ford 6
Photo: Bob Newman

Reigning IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez (30-2, 17 KOs) successfully defended his world title against mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (25-4-1, 10 KOs) via eighth round TKO. Abe struggled with a closing right eye as Lopez took him apart. The bout was finally waved off by referee Marc Nelson. Time was :39.

Lopez 1
Photo: Bob Newman

Undefeated Brian Norman, Jr. (Atlanta) took on Janelson Bocachica (Detroit) in a scheduled 10 rounder for Norman, Jr’s WBO International title. Things got precarious early as Bocachica was cut badly over his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in round one. With 10 seconds to go in the round, Norman, Jr. moved for the kill and was beautifully countered with a perfect right hand, hitting the deck hard and hurt, but saved by the bell. In round two, two more clashes of heads left Norman, Jr. cut over his right eye and then Bocachica cut, high on his forehead in the hairline, prompting a long delay for the ringside docs to check each man. After a spirited third round, the ringside physician who examined Bocachica again, recommended a halt to the bout, which goes down as a No Decision due to four rounds not being completed.. Norman, Jr. remains at 25-0, 19 KOs, while Bocachiica remains at 17-2-1, 11 KOs.

Once beaten Jr. Welters Bryce Mills (Syracuse) and Gerffred Ngayot (Buffalo, by way of Congo) pitched an interstate battle scheduled for 6 rounds. The local lad Mills, sported the Orange & Blue of Syracuse University and employed a crouching, come forward style reminiscent of local legend Carmen Basilio, It was a pitched battle throughout as Mills kept coming forward and throwing, while Ngayot was busier as a counter puncher. Most at ringside agreed they wouldn’t want to be a judge in this one. Scores were as follows:58-56 and 60-56 twice, all for Mills, who now improves to 15-1, 5 KO. The hard luck Ngayot falls to 6-2, 5 KOs. This one deserves a rematch for sure.

2020 Tokyo Olympian Troy “The Transformer” Isley took on “The Contender” alum Marcos Hernandez in a scheduled 8 round middleweight clash. R Isley goes to Ound after round, Isley pounded away on Hernandez, who proved tough as titanium. Referee Mark Nelson began to take a hard look around round 5, as Hernandez began to look a little worse for wear. Finally, in round 7, a wild overhand right dropped Hernandez hard, rolling on the floor. He beat the count, but referee Nelson had seen enough. Time was 1:30 of the seventh. Isley moves to 12-0, 5 KOs, while Hernandez should call it a day at 16-7-2, 3 KOs.

Rising bantamweight prospect Floyd “Cash Flow” Diaz took on Puerto Rico’s Edwin Rodriguez in a scheduled 8 rounder. It was a tit-for-tat battle as each gave as good as they got, with Diaz doing just a bit more in each round. By round four, Diaz had blood pouring from his nose, courtesy of a hard Rodriguez jab. The pattern of give-and-take continued for all eight rounds, both fighters having earned the respect of the other by the final bell. Scores were as follows: 80-72, 78-74 and 79-73, all for Diaz, now 11-0, 3 KOs. The hard luck Rodriguez falls to 12-8-2, 5 KOs.

In a battle of undefeated Jr. Welters, Rohan Polanco (Dominican Republic) and Tarik Zaina (Morocco) put their sterling records on the line in a scheduled 8 rounder. It was a cot & mouse affair right from the outset as Zaina boxed nicely against Polanco’s straight ahead juggernaut approach. From the second round on, Polanco sported a bloody nose from repeated Zaina jabs. Zaina for his part, weathered two hard shots, one in the 2nd and one in the 5th. Prophetically, the house lights went out in the 7th, prompting referee Benjy Esteves to call time. When the lights came on, Polanco came alive and dropped Zaina with two lefts near Zaina’s corner. Zaina boxed out of trouble and even did well in the eighth until 25 seconds remained when he went down hard, looking as if he wouldn’t beat the count. But beat it he did, surviving a vicious onslaught to end the fight on his .feet. THe judges credited Polanco for his aggression with a 78-72 and 79-71 x 2 score all for Polanco, now 12-0, 7 KOs. Zaina loses his first at 13-1-1, 8 KOs.

Nico Ali Walsh looked to bounce back from his lone professional loss against Charles Stanford, Cincinnati, OH, in a scheduled 6 round middleweight clash. Right from the get-go, Ali Walsh was intent on attacking the body with jabs, crosses and hooks.Standford opted to be a vocal counter puncher, yelling, “HAH” with every punch thrown. At the bell ending the fourth, Stanford went down from missing his own left hook wildly, correctly ruled a slip by ref Mark Nelson.Stanford had his best round in the sixth, landing some telling blows on Ali Walsh, who couldn’t corner his foe long enough capitalize on the body work. In the end, the judges saw it 59-55 and 60-54 x 2 all for Ali Walsh, now 10-1, 5 KOs, Stanford falls to 7-6, 4 KOs.

Heavyweight Brandon Moore of Lakeland, FL, hammered Hellaman Olguiin, Salt Lake City, UT from pillar to post over eight monotonous, sloppy rounds, but could not put the big man down. Scores were 80-72 across the board for Moore, who improves to 14-0, 8 KOs, while Olguin falls to 9-7-1, 4 KOs.

Paul, Bomba victorious, Serrano fight cancelled

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