It’ll be a little later than we thought, but Murodjon Akhmadaliev will indeed make his first defense as unified super bantamweight champion against interim IBF champ Ryosuke Iwasa. Uzbekistan’s National Olympic Committee held a press conference this morning announcing an April 3rd card in Tashkent, which will feature some of the country’s most prominent fighting exports.
Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KO) claimed Bronze in Rio, running afoul of Robeisy Ramirez in the semis. After turning pro in 2018, he fought his way to a title shot in less than two years, successfully out-dueling the very capable Daniel Roman in January 2020. Iwasa (27-3, 17 KO) won the IBF belt in 2017 with a TKO of Yukinori Oguni and defended it once before losing it in a questionable loss to TJ Doheny.
Between Akhmadaliev, Luis Nery, Stephen Fulton, and Brandon Figueroa, the division is red-hot at the moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing “MJ” pursue more belts if he can get past a legitimate challenge in Iwasa.