Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Luis Collazo faces Kudratillo Abdukakhorov on Gvozdyk-Beterbiev card


After a fight against Jose Benavidez fell through, welterweight contender Luis Collazo is aiming for a world title fight.

Collazo will square off against Kudratillo Abdukakhorov on Oct. 18, Top Rank announced Thursday afternoon. The 10-round bout, which will precede the unification fight between WBC light heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk and IBF titleholder Artur Beterbiev, will take place at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).

The match-up between Collazo and Abdukakhorov will have a lot at stake as the winner will position himself for a world title or elimination bout in 2020. The southpaw Collazo has made for more action fights in recent years, which should make the fight against the aggressive fighter from Uzbekistan.

“This is a fight that will deliver action and a top contender in the talent-rich welterweight division,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Collazo-Abdukakhorov is a great compliment to Beterbiev-Gvozdyk, and it’s only fitting that a card like this is coming to the great fighting city of Philadelphia.”

Collazo (39-7, 20 knockouts), who resides in Queens, New York, was scheduled to fight Jose Benavidez on Aug. 17 in Los Angeles, but Benavidez backed out four weeks before the fight due to a leg injury suffered during training camp.

In his last bout on Mar. 17 in New York City, Collazo defeated Samuel Vargas by split-decision over 10 rounds. The 38-year-old has won his last three bouts since his loss to then-WBA titleholder Keith Thurman in July of 2015.

Collazo has moved on from the Benavidez fight and is focused on putting on a solid performance on Oct. 18.

“I’m just ready to go,” said Collazo. “The Jose Benavidez Jr. fight didn’t happen because he was hurt or whatever, but trust me, you are going to see an incredible performance that will steal the show on October 18. I’m coming for everything. It’s now or never. I can’t wait to show out in the great city of Philadelphia.”

Abdukakhorov (16-0, 9 KOs), who is ranked No. 10 by The Ring, became the mandatory challenger to face IBF titleholder Errol Spence in his last bout on Mar. 30 in Philadelphia, defeating Keith Obara by unanimous decision.

“I am looking forward to showcasing my talent to the world,” said Abdukakhorov, who is also ranked No. 6 by the WBC. “This will be a great fight, as Luis Collazo is someone who comes and gives 100 percent every fight and his aggressive style is adored by many fans. He has the heart of a true warrior. I do believe his age will be a factor, and I will try to capitalize on it. I am coming to this fight with every intention of beating him to cement my status as the mandatory for the IBF world title.”

Preliminary action

– Fringe light heavyweight contender Michael Seals (23-2, 17 KOs), who scored a spectacular knockout win over Christopher Brooker in his last bout on June 8, will face Argentina’s Elio Trosch (14-8-2, 7 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

– Lightweight prospect Joseph Adorno (13-0, 11 KOs) of nearby Allentown will square off against Damian Sosa (9-2, 4 KOs) in an eight-round bout. His younger brother Jeremy (2-0, 1 KO) will also fight on the card when he faces Misael Reyes (1-2) of Kansas City, Kansas in a four-round bout.

– Heavyweight prospect and Philadelphia resident Sonny Conto (4-0, 3 KOs), who is trained by Abel Sanchez, will face Louisiana’s Steven Lyons (5-5, 2 KOs) in a four-round bout.

– Hard-hitting junior welterweight Julian Rodriguez (17-0, 11 KOs) of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey will face a fighter to be determined in a six-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV sine October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, Boxingscene, and He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing