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WBA orders Thomas Patrick Ward vs Otabek Kholmatov featherweight final eliminator

Thomas Patrick Ward is ranked first, Otabek Kholmatov second

Boxing at Metro Radio Arena Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

With the WBA featherweight title picture finally grinding back into motion, the time has come to crown the next mandatory challenger. Probellum announced today that no. 1 Thomas Patrick Ward has been ordered to face no. 2 Otabek Kholmatov for a shot at the winner of Leo Santa Cruz vs Leigh Wood.

They also misspelled “confirmed.”

Ward (33-0-1, 5 KO) has a pretty record, but he’s been content to graze on mediocre opponents on the British scene. He hasn’t beaten a notable fighter since beating Jazza Dickens in 2017, and he’s two years removed from a technical draw with Thomas Essomba.

Uzbekistan’s Kholmatov (10-0, 9 KO) is coming off a wide unanimous decision over then-unbeaten Andranik Grigorian in what was apparently not a final eliminator. That was his first taste of real competition, but he’s also only been a pro for less than 14 months, so that’s a bit more excusable than Ward’s years of cruise control.

Seems like a solid matchup between featherweights with something to prove. Jury’s out on whether either man poses a threat to Santa Cruz or Wood, but it’s got its own merits.

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