By Mark Eisner: WBC World bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali and challenger Arthur Villanueva successfully weighed in on Friday for their fight this Saturday night on ESPN+ at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The undefeated Oubaali (15-0, 11 KOs) weighed in at 117 1/4 pounds for his first defense of his World Boxing Council 118 pound title.
(Photo credit: World Boxing Council)
Oubaali’s opponent 30-year-old Villanueva (32-3-1, 18 KOs) weighed in at 117 1/4 pounds as well. Both fighters looked in top shape and ready to do battle on Saturday night in Kazakhstan. This is a voluntary defense for Oubaali in defending his WBC 118 pound title against bottom ranked #15 WBC Villanueva. Oubaali’s management selected someone that they feel comfortable with in picking Villanueva from rock bottom of the WBC’s top 15 rankings.
Villanueva gives France’s Oubaali his best shot at keeping his WBC title for a little while before he has to defend against former WBC champion Luis Nery, who will likely take the belt from him. Nery is looking unbeatable right now, and it’s going to take someone special to beat him. Oubaali is probably not the guy to do the job. France’s Oubaali will be hard-pressed to do anything against Nery when the time comes for them to face each other. There’s also a chance that Oubaali will face WBA ‘regular’ bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue if he beats WBA Super World 118 pound champion Nonito Donaire in the final of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament. Those two still don’t have a date for when they’ll be fighting each other in the WBSS tournament final.
Philippine’s Villanueva (32-3-1, 18 KOs) had three tough fights in 2017 — a unanimous decision loss to then-WBO bantamweight interim titlist Zolani Tete; a TKO victory over former flyweight title contender Richie Mepranum; and a TKO loss to former WBC bantamweight world titlist Luis Nery, in a fight where Villanueva dropped Nery once in Round 4 before being stopped in the sixth. Villanueva recovered in 2018 with a 1-0-1 record.
Turarov (23-0, 16 KOs), of Kazakhstan, has won eight of his last 10 fights by stoppage, including a second-round TKO of tough contender Richmond Djarbeng last month.
Argentina’s Godoy (31-4-1, 16 KOs) started his career 29-1, but has gone 2-3-1 in his last six bouts.
In his last fight in March, Godoy scored a close unanimous decision victory over Damian Leonardo Yapur to stop a three-fight winless streak.