Murodjon Akhmadaliev tied Leon Spinks’ record for fastest male boxer to become a unified champion in boxing, taking the WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles from Daniel Roman via split decision tonight in Miami.
Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KO) won two cards and Roman (27-3-1, 10 KO) won the third, all on scores of 115-113. BLH had the fight 115-113 and 117-111 for Akhmadaliev, who also becomes Uzbekistan’s first unified champion.
The 25-year-old southpaw Akhmadaliev, now based out in California, nicked enough rounds in a close fight, and there were few out there arguing that it should have gone the other way. It was competitive throughout, but Akhmadaliev seemed to land the bigger, more telling blows consistently, and he also tended to close rounds stronger.
Akhmadaliev landed some heavy shots in the second round, but Roman hung tough — as he would all night — and came back with some good body work. But we didn’t see the sort of body attack we usually do from Roman, either, as Akhmadaliev clearly had that scouted and didn’t give the defending titlist much to work with there if he could help it. Roman did good work in most every round, but Akhmadaliev’s was just that little bit better in enough of them to get the nod.
CompuBox saw Roman as more active but Akhmadaliev more accurate. Roman landed 150 of 728 (21%) punches overall, and 131 of 413 (32%) power shots. Akhmadaliev was counted as landing 153 of 498 (31%) total punches, and 114 of 300 (38%) power punches.
Akhmadaliev, who was the WBA mandatory challenger, spoke highly of Roman after the fight.
“He was the most proven 122-pounder in the world, had been in the toughest in his career,” Akhmadaliev said of Roman. “I knew who I was fighting. I prepared for the best fighter in my division. It was a hell of a fight, he was very tough. He was tougher than I expected. It was a great fight. Thank you, Danny Roman.”
Roman felt he won, but didn’t cry the blues, either.
“I think I won the fight. It was a close fight,” Roman said. “MJ’s a hell of a fighter, strong fighter. After the first couple rounds we made the adjustments, but I just came up short. MJ’s a complicated fighter. I had a plan but at the last minute it changed. He was the better man tonight.”
Roman said he would like to do a rematch.