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Davies and Kholmatov Triumphant in WBA Eliminators in Newcastle

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  • Davies and Kholmatov Triumphant in WBA Eliminators in Newcastle

    Ohara Davies, whose only losses came at the hands of Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall, turned in his career-best performance today in Newcastle, putting away local fan favorite Lewis Ritson in nine frames. Davies, a former London teenage street thug who turned his life around when he discovered boxing, earned a shot at the winner of the forthcoming match between reigning WBA 140-pound champion Alberto Puello and Rolly Romero.

    An 8/5 favorite, Davies (25-2, 18 KOs) had too much firepower for Ritson. He landed the harder shots throughout the contest before terminating the match with a vicious left hook to the liver. The official time was 2:10 of round nine.

    Lewis Ritson, now 23-3, was identified in these pages as a fighter to watch after demolishing Scott Cardle in 2018 and he subsequently overcame Robbie Davies Jr in a 12-round barnburner recognized as the 2019 British Fight of the Year. But tonight, in what figured to be a competitive match, he found himself in over his head. He was on the canvas for several minutes after absorbing the body punch that caved him in.

    Ohara Davies, who has been known for alienating boxing fans with his incendiary talk, was gracious in victory. He thanked the people of Newcastle for making him feel welcome.


    Otabek Kholmatov is a name to remember. A 24-year-old featherweight from Uzbekistan, Kholmatov stamped himself an early favorite for the Breakout Fighter of the Year with a fifth-round stoppage of previously undefeated Thomas Patrick Ward who was 33-0-1 heading in. With only five knockouts to his credit, Ward wasn’t particularly well-thought-of, but he was ranked Home by the WBA and favored by odds of 2/1.

    Kholmatov took charge in the opening stanza, knocking Ward to the canvas in the final minute of the round. Ward fought back gamely, but was knocked down again in the fourth and was bruised and battered when the match was halted at the 2:58 mark of round five.

    Kholmatov (11-0, 10 KOs) was making his first start in almost 12 months after fighting nine times in 2021. He represents the Warriors Gym in Hollywood, Florida (owned by a former Russian intelligence officer). With the victory, Kholmatov, in theory, became the next opponent for Mauricio Lara who captured the WBA 126-pound title last month, dethroning Leigh Wood.


    In his first start in 13 months, Scotland’s Lee McGregor, a former domestic bantamweight champion, improved to 12-0-1 with a comfortable 8-round decision over Alexis Kabore, a 39-year-old campaigner from Burkina Faso. The referee scored it 79-74.

    McGregor, 26, has been a caddy of sorts for bosom buddy Josh Taylor but declared his independence when he elected to stay with trainer Ben Davison after Taylor cut him loose. Going forward, he is expected to compete as a super bantamweight. It was the fifth loss in the last six fights for the grizzled Kabore (29-8) who hasn’t been stopped since his pro debut in 2004.