The 2020 Olympic Gold medalist from Uzbekistan, Bakhodir Jalolov, wasted no time in making a resounding statement as he dispatched Onoriode Ehwarieme in a brief and emphatic manner. The bout, which unfolded as the curtain raiser at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ended in a first-round stoppage at the 2:06 mark, with Jalolov securing three knockdowns.
Initially scheduled to be part of a heavyweight tripleheader on ESPN, Jalolov's appearance faced complications due to his contractual situation amid the dissolution of Probellum and the uncertainties regarding promotional rights.
Jalolov's first fight of 2023 was made available to limited viewership via a solo stream on Top Rank's YouTube channel due to the aforementioned legal issues.
Facing the Nigerian fighter Ehwarieme (20-3, 19KOs), Jalolov (13-0, 13KOs) made an immediate impact. A powerful left hand sent Ehwarieme to the canvas within the opening minute of the contest. Ehwarieme found himself back on the canvas shortly after, as Jalolov continued his relentless assault. A third knockdown prompted the referee to halt the bout, allowing Jalolov to secure another impressive victory.
Saturday's performance marked Jalolov's sixth first-round knockout in his career, enhancing his record of never being pushed beyond the eighth round. His previous fight was a fourth-round knockout of Curtis Harper in November 2022 in Carson, California.
Jalolov's signing with Top Rank added depth to their heavyweight stable, where he joined forces with his amateur rival Richard Torrez Jr. (6-0, 6KOs). Jalolov had previously knocked out Torrez on his way to winning the World Amateur Championships and then outpointed him in the Gold medal round of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The YouTube-streamed bout served as a prelude to a full Top Rank show broadcast on ESPN+ and later on ESPN, headlined by a heavyweight clash between Jared Anderson and Andrii Rudenko.