Kudratillo Abdukakhorov takes on Cody Crowley while he waits for Errol Spence Jr.
It’s closing in on three-years since Kudratillo Abdukakhorov earned himself a seat at the welterweight table.
However, despite being the IBF mandatory to Errol Spence Jr. for the same amount of time, he has been unable to secure his title opportunity.
Abdukakhorov, who is rated No. 7 by The Ring at 147-pounds, is keen to get what he long ago earned, but he understands that he is stuck in a holding pattern due to Errol Spence Jr. having two lengthy injury lay-offs and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the meantime, Abdukakhorov will face unbeaten Cody Crowley at Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California on Saturday.
“It has been frustrating but I am grateful my team are able to keep me active,” Abdukakhorov (18-0, 10 knockouts) told The Ring through his manager Vikram Sivapragasam. “I want to face the best in the division but it has been difficult over the last couple of years.
“I have to give Crowley my full attention because if I do not beat him, I won’t be able to face Spence. I am focused on this fight.”
The 28-year-old Uzbekistan-born fighter snapped a 17-month hiatus when he stopped fringe contender Javier Flores (RTD 8) in March.
“It was difficult not fighting for such a long time,” admitted Abdukakhorov. “I stayed positive and then won my fight. It was great to fight in America again. This time there will be fans which will help.”
“The Punisher” has spent five weeks training under the watchful eye of Manny Robles and strength and fitness guru Matias Erbin in southern California.
“It has been good training with Manny, I have learned new things,” he said. “Matias has got me in great shape and I want to show the boxing fans in California that I am someone to watch.”
He hopes this will be his final fight before facing one of the big names at welterweight.
“I don’t chase fights, I leave that to Vikram and Sampson,” he said. “They know the best way and I will follow what they say but I want to fight the big names in America next year.”
Sivapragasam hopes Abdukakhorov can be a part of the changing of the guard in the star-studded division.
“The division has changed a lot this year,” said Sivapragasam. “We have seen [Manny] Pacquiao and Shawn Porter retire this year and the emergence of young fighters like Vergil Ortiz and Jaron Ennis. I believe Kudratillo can be a big part of the division.”
His promoter Lewkowicz, a veteran famed for his work with former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, among others, believes bigger fights are just around the corner.
“I am convinced that after this fight it will be time for a great opportunity,” said Lewkowicz. “We want a big name or a championship fight.”
Crowley turned professional in 2014. The 28-year-old Canadian has beaten Stuart McLellan (UD 12), Mian Hussain (UD 10) and, in his most recent fight, Josh Torres (UD 10). Crowley, who fights out of a southpaw stance, is (19-0, 9 KOs).
The Showtime event will be headlined by WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire vs. Reymart Gaballo and also feature Brandun Lee vs. Juan Heraldez and Abdukakhorov vs. Crowley. The broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.