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Nordine Oubaali will play to the crowd

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports
A vast audience will witness Nordine Oubaali’s first WBC title defence, writes Paul Wheeler

TEN-THOUSAND people are expected to attend MTK Global’s event at the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Saturday (July 6), as Frenchman Nordine Oubaali, 15-0 (11), puts his WBC bantamweight belt on the line for the first time in the headline attraction. Challenging the undefeated southpaw is Filipino Arthur Villanueva, 32-3-1 (18), who has contested the IBF super-flyweight strap in the past. The show will be broadcast live on iFL TV (UK) and ESPN+ (US).

Double Olympian Oubaali, 32, picked up the vacant WBC title in January by unanimously outscoring former WBA champ Rau’shee Warren in an entertaining tussle. Villanueva, 30, meanwhile, is coming off a majority draw with the unheralded Carlo Demecillo in November last year – hardly a result that warrants a shot at world honours. Villanueva (Bacolod City) is a seasoned, well-travelled fighter who has a considerably longer reach than his adversary. However, Bagnolet’s stocky and robust Oubaali has looked pretty formidable so far in his pro career. A fierce puncher, especially when connecting with compact hooks, he can retain inside schedule.

The Verdict Oubaali gets a lofty platform on which to showcase his skills.

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