The WBA championships committee has ordered a mandatory bout between its featherweight champion Leigh Wood (pictured) and mandatory challenger Otabek Kholmatov of Uzbekistan. Wood just defeated Mauricio Lara last Saturday to win the 126-pound belt but now he must face the WBA’s mandatory challenger. Since Wood won the title on May 27th, his mandatory fight must be no later than September 26th. The thirty-day free negotiation period starts on Tuesday, May 30th and will run until June 29th. If no agreement is reached, or if either party expresses unwillingness to negotiate, the Championships Committee may call for an auction.
PRIOR BOXINGTALK COVERAGE
March 8, 2023... Otabek Kholmatov scored a fifth-round technical knockout win over Thomas Patrick Ward in a WBA featherweight eliminator last Saturday in Newcastle, England. The Uzbek had an interesting challenge against Patrick Ward, an undefeated fighter with a good record, but Kholmatov dominated him to force Ward's corner to throw in the towel. The 24-year old’s power and aggression were evident from the first round and he was able to knock the Brit down in that first round, in addition to knockdowns in rounds four and five. Kholmatov is a threat at 126 pounds and now has a path to a WBA title shot, with Mauricio Lara currently holding the title. Kholmatov is now 11-0. Though he had been inactive for one year, it was his second straight win over a previously undefeated foe. Ward falls to 33-1-1.