Seems like this fight just isn’t meant to be. Unified super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev’s WBA-mandated title defense against Ronny Rios already got pushed back once when “MJ” came down with COVID, and now it’s Rios who’s caught the virus just a week from fight night.
“I hope that Ronny is feeling well, it’s a shame that he cannot face me, but it is a great chance for Jose and I am sure he will put everything into this fight,” said Akhmadaliev.
“Everything has been good in camp, it’s been a long camp with a couple of fights getting cancelled, but we’ve stayed in the gym and I’m ready to defend what is mine.
“We have a new gym, and we love it, it’s our new home. The facilities are great and there’s more room and new rings. It’s always a pleasure being in camp because Joel Diaz and the team – we’re one big family.
“We joke around and mess around, but we get great work in, we have our own language in the gym with broken English, Spanish, Uzbek and Russian, all mixed up. It’s fun but that’s because we work so hard that we make sure we enjoy ourselves when the work is done. We eat, sleep and drink boxing, the discipline is second to none.”
In Rios’ place steps Chile’s Jose Velasquez (29-6-2, 19 KO), undefeated since starting his pro career 8-6-2. He’s largely competed in his home country, though he’s made a few journeys abroad to beat undefeated fighters like Melvin Lopez and, most recently Ariel Lopez. That said, he fights at 118 as often as 122 and is going up against a man who’s likely the best in the division in Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KO). Major step up in class.
Let’s hope Rios recovers well and doesn’t delay potential unifications too long.
The card will also see Demetrius Andrade defend his middleweight title against Jason Quigley, Julio Cesar Martinez finally face mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo, and Kali Reis take on Jessica Camara to unify the WBA and WBO super lightweight titles.