New Faces: Murodjon Akhmadaliev
Hometown: Namangan, Uzbekistan
Weight class: Junior featherweight
Height: 5-foot-6 (168 cm)
Amateur record: 300-15
Turned pro: 2018
Pro record: 4-0 (3 knockouts)
Trainer: Joel Diaz and Antonio Diaz
Manager: Vadim Kornilov and Oleg Frolov
Promoter: World of Boxing
Best night of pro career and why: Akhmadaliev is pleased with his most recent outing, an 80-second blitzing of Chilean journeyman Ramon Contreras.
“The night when I won my first professional title,” Akhmadaliev told The Ring through Alik Frolov. “It is the most memorable moment so far.”
Worst night of pro career and why: The Uzbekistan prospect has won all four of his fights so far and is pleased with how things have progressed.
Next fight: Akhmadaliev will face Isaac Zarate over 10 rounds on the undercard of Dmitry Bivol (his stablemate) and Jean Pascal in Atlantic City this Saturday.
Zarate (16-3-3, 2 KOs) appears to step up for Akhmadaliev. The 27-year-old southpaw from San Pedro, California, is on a three-fight win streak and recently outpointed one-time prospect Horacio Garcia. He also owns a win over former bantamweight title challenger Carlos Carlson.
Zarate has never been stopped and Akhmadaliev will make a statement if he accomplishes that feat.
Why he’s a prospect: As an amateur, Akhmadaliev won 300 of 315 contests.
As well as claiming eight national titles, he took gold at the 2017 Asian games, silver at the 2015 World Championships and Olympic bronze in 2016.
Since joining the professional ranks, he has gained valuable experience sparring with many top fighters including Joseph Diaz, Francisco Vargas, Diego De La Hoya and MMA star TJ Dillashaw.
Over the years, countries such as Cuba, Kazahkstan and Ukraine have produced elite amateurs who have gone on to professional glory. “Kaka” is part of a recent invasion of outstanding Uzbekistan amateur boxers.
Akhmadaliev feels he possesses several intangibles that can help secure safe passage to world level.
“I think my best attribute is that I’m a whole package,” he said. “I can box, I can brawl, I can be smart, and I can be crazy. You never know what to expect because I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
His manager Vadim Kornilov, who has guided several fighters to world titles, expects Akhmadaliev to move quickly in the professional ranks.
“We plan to bring him a world title fight in the next year, before he gets to 10 professional fights,” said Kornilov. “Dmitry Bivol became interim champion in his sixth fight and became a full world champion in his 11th fight. Other fighters from his team will follow his path.”
Joel Diaz has trained a slew of top fighters and is quick to wax lyrical.
“MJ is definitely the most talented kid I ever had in camp,” said Diaz. “He is a very smart and calculated fighter but, at the same time, he’s also the most awkward fighter I’ve trained. And power? The power, you literally don’t understand where it comes from. He is a small kid, but he hits like a strong 140-pounder.”
Why he’s a suspect: The young Uzbekistani fighter has bundles of potential, but professional experience is a must.
“I love to fight, so all I need is to be fighting as much as possible,” Akhmadaliev said
Diaz feels his vast amateur pedigree has set him up for success in the paid ranks.
“This kid has been doing it 15 years; in the ring with the best fighters in the world in 300 something fights,” said Diaz. “He has all the experience of amateur boxing, and pretty much a good pro style. We just need to get the experience of 10-12 round fights.”
Storylines: Akhmadaliev was born and raised in Namangan, nearly 300 kilometers (180 miles) east of the capital, Tashkent.
His father works in a factory, his mother looks after the family, and he has two sisters and a brother.
“It wasn’t easy. Uzbekistan is a tough place, people are much rougher than in U.S.,” Akhmadaliev explained. “But I’m no gangster. I’m just a little bit of a troublemaker when I was a kid. I’m from regular family, I would say low income, not poor.”
Akhmadaliev was never far from trouble as a youngster and was inspired by the success of one of his elders.
“I always loved to fight when I was a kid,” he said. “But then there was [Uzbekistan’s] first amateur world [junior] champion Ilxom Rahimov. He became so well-known in Uzbekistan and I decided that I’m going to do the same. I almost did, but now my goals are higher.
Akhmadaliev is single and spends much of his time in America. He likes to spend time with his friends, family and team members.
Aug. 23 – Ramon Contreras – KO 1
July 14 – Luis Fernando Molina – UD 6
April 21 – Carlos Gaston Suarez – TKO 4
Mar. 10 – David Michel Paz – TKO 1
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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