THE RESULT: Down on two scorecards Raymond Ford produces a stunning stoppage win over Otabek Kholmatov with seven seconds left in the final round to take home the WBA featherweight belt.


KEY MOMENTS: In a high-quality bout there were brutal body exchanges throughout. The conditioning of both men was outstanding, but Ford kept going right till the very end and had Khomatov on rubbery legs in the 12th and pounced with the Uzbeki hurt, off balance and all over the place.


RECORDS: Ford extends his unbeaten run to 15-0-1 (8) but Kholmatov loses his own zero and drops to 12-1 (11).


TALKING POINT: How a highly competitive fight can then be transformed into a Fight of the Year contender within seconds. Both men took the best from each other but there were no memorable dramatic moments but those last moments of round 12 elevated the fight to another level.


QUOTABLE: In the post-fight interview and emotional Raymond Ford explained how he pulled out the stoppage win. “My coach told me bring that dog out. We had to dig deep. I kept telling myself I’m gonna stop him. I started off a little slow. I felt like I didn’t have the energy in the legs due to a tough weight cut. This might be my last fight at 126. We (Matchroom) got Joe Cordina. I feel like that’s a good fight we can make. I can go up there and compete with anybody.”


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? If it was tough to make the weight as Ford suggested then moving up to super-featherweight sounds like a sensible decision. Kholmatov will come again but there are some rough edges to be smoothed out.