Murodjon Akhmadaliev eyes more belts in 2022 and is happy to face Ronny Rios
IBF and WBA junior featherweight titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev successfully made a second defense of his titles against late substitute Jose Velasquez back in November.
Akhmadaliev, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 122-pounds, had been due to face WBA mandatory Ronny Rios, however, the California native caught COVID and Velasquez stepped in to the breach.
“It’s not always the best thing when you have something go wrong,” Akhmadaliev told The Ring through manager Vadim Kornilov. “You have to switch from one style to another, and of course you don’t have time to change sparring partners or something like that. But that’s what we have to deal with, and I’m happy that we had a fight.
“I’m happy with my performance. I gained much needed experience first, second is that we went the distance and [I could] breathe pretty well, as I struggled post COVID myself little bit, so it helped me feel more confident in my abilities. The only thing could be better is to stop the guy, and I felt like I could, but at the same time it was a game opponent and I didn’t want to take unnecessary risk later in the fight.”
The 27-year-old southpaw, who recently got married, hopes he can further unify the 122-pound titles this year.
“My goal remains the same until I become undisputed champion,” he said. “But it’s not my call, its [the] WBA’s. If I have to face Ronny, I have no problem with it. He is a true warrior, and I’m not going to avoid him as he deserves his shot.”
Last week, the IBF called for Akhmadaliev to face their mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales, giving both camps until February 2 to avoid a purse bid. Tapales is coming off an impressive second round stoppage over Hiroaki Teshigawara. It is not known if the IBF or WBA mandatory would be next.
However, with Rios and now Tapales stating their cases, both could push a potential fight with Stephen Fulton for the right to be called the undisputed junior featherweight champion back.
Kornilov, who is famed for his work with, amongst others, Dmitry Bivol, Ruslan Provodnikov and Viktor Postol, hopes that a unification would take precedent.
Although Akhmadaliev is promoted by Matchroom and World of Boxing and fights on DAZN, while WBC and WBO titleholder Stephen Fulton is over at PBC on Showtime, he is optimistic that the two could meet,
“I don’t see any problem in organizing a fight for an undisputed championship,” said Kornilov. “Even in the case of the two champions being on different networks.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright