Kholmatov vs Ford Predictions: The fight of the weekend could go either way

 | February 29 | 

3 mins read

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Otabek Kholmatov vs Raymond Ford might just be the sleeper hit of a boxing weekend where the attention will be elsewhere. This WBA featherweight title clash doesn’t have the prestige of an Amanda Serrano fight or the car-crash intrigue of a Jake Paul collision. But in terms of a fight with genuine value as a boxing match, Kholmatov vs Ford has those two beat hands down.

Kholmatov vs Ford Odds

  • Kholmatov to win @ 4/6
  • Ford to win @ 6/5
  • Draw @ 16/1

Kholmatov is a man in a hurry. A standout career as an amateur saw him take home the flyweight bronze at the 2016 Youth World Championships. But rather than chase the Olympic dream, the Uzbekistani star has been making hay in the pros. 

12 wins with 11 knockouts over the last three years have seen Kholmatov undertake a fast rise. Nine of those wins took place in his first year in the ring. A stunning stat when you realise he didn’t make his professional debut until August of that year.

Kholmatov introduced himself to British fans last year, thrashing Thomas Patrick Ward in four rounds in Newcastle. It was a stunning display of power and precision. There aren’t many 126-pound fighters in the world that could take the shots Kholmatov dishes out. 

Raymond Ford is another name that will be familiar to British fans. The New Jersey southpaw has visited these shores twice. Ford fought in Nottingham in his second bout, outpointing journeyman Aleksandrs Birkenbergs over four rounds. He returned for a fight at Matchroom HQ during the COVID-19 pandemic, knocking out current British and Commonwealth super featherweight king Reece Bellotti in three rounds.

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Destructive displays like the Bellotti win have become more atypical as Ford has moved through the levels. His southpaw slipstream calls to mind an inverted Floyd Mayweather. Fast hands and fleet-footed movement are the order of the day, but Ford has only knocked out one of his last four foes. Unlike Mayweather’s cautious late-period though, this isn’t through lack of trying. 

Last time out, Ford secured the biggest win of his career as he outpointed former world champion Jessie Magdaleno. He sent his illustrious opponent to the canvas twice on the way to a unanimous nod on the cards. Ford can hit, but he doesn’t possess the concussive power to initiate one-punch finishes.

He’ll be in the ring with a man that does wield such strength. But what Ford brings in abundance is defensive acumen, a smooth, slippery guile that makes him near-impossible to hit cleanly. Kholmatov is prone to wild swings and his 24-year-old opponent can thrive against such an onslaught. 

But when Kholmatov lands, he rarely stops landing. Once the Uzbekistani star finds his range, he doesn’t let his opponent’s off the hook. I can see a scenario where Ford takes an early lead on the cards before he has to put up with some truly chastening shots. 

How he will stand up to these is anybody’s guess. Ford is unbeaten and has never been down. But then he has never faced a fighter who can do what Kholmatov can. Equally, Kholmatov has never faced a fighter as well-equipped to stop him doing what he wants in the ring. 

I’m edging towards a late Kholmatov stoppage here. When those power shots start flowing, no one seems to last with the 25-year-old. The Kholmatov knockout is priced at 7/4. I feel like it will arrive late and after a far greater struggle than the Uzbekistani puncher is used to. This will be a fascinating fight while it lasts, but I don’t think it lasts 12 rounds.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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