Otabek Kholmatov has undergone successful surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament following his fight of the year contender against Raymond Ford on March 2.

The ebb-and-flow encounter climaxed as Kholmatov (12-1, 11 KOs) faded and Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs) claimed a final-round stoppage with only seconds remaining to claim the vacant WBA world featherweight title. 

Despite defeat, Kholmatov proved he belonged at the highest level. At the time of stoppage, the Uzbek was ahead on two of the judges' scorecards by 106-103.

Otabek took to Instagram to confirm that he had undergone surgery to repair his ACL tear, claiming that the injury occurred in the opening stages of the contest and deteriorated throughout the fight.

“Hello everyone,” Kholmatov posted on Instagram. “Friends, I am happy to let you know that I successfully underwent surgery on my knee. Early in the fight [against Ford], I suffered a knee injury and as the fight progressed, the injury worsened with every movement on my feet. I felt how I was losing strength and support in my leg with each round until the knee completely snapped in the 12th round, when my leg simply wouldn't listen to me. The diagnosis is a complete tear of the ACL and tears in both the lateral and medial meniscus.”

Kholmatov admits he is still upset at how his title challenge ended in Las Vegas, but he remains confident of fulfilling his potential and eventually claiming a world title. 

“I will always be upset by the outcome, but in victory and defeat, I am grateful to God for this experience and for this test,” Kholmatov continued in his post. “I had to wait but I was operated on by athlete professionals. I thank everyone who supported me and continues to support me. All I think about now is a complete recovery and a speedy return to the ring. I promise that regardless of who holds the title at the time of my return, inshallah, I will do everything I can to take this title and become the world champion!”