Murodjon Akhmadaliev had a successful homecoming in Uzbekistan, retaining his WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles with a fifth round stoppage win over Ryosuke Iwasa, though the timing of the stoppage will certainly be debated.
No one will argue that Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KO) definitely looked on his way to a stoppage win over Iwasa (27-4, 17 KO), a former titleholder who actually came in with the interim IBF belt, too, for whatever that’s worth. But while he was getting hit plenty in the fifth and final round, it still seemed premature to basically everyone when the referee called a halt to the fight at 1:30 of that round.
Iwasa, 31, hadn’t been down in the fight and had weathered one storm to start the fifth round, and was still defending himself. He was being backed down, but he wasn’t horribly reeling or anything of the sort. Here’s the stoppage, you can judge for yourself:
All that acknowledged, this was an impressive outing for the 26-year-old Akhmadaliev, who continues to stake his claim as the top 122-pound fighter in the world with a win over a good veteran contender. We’d given every round of the fight to Akhmadaliev, whose thumping, hard jab did the most to keep him in control, and he was mixing in right hooks and the occasional left hand out of the southpaw stance, too.
Iwasa had his moments, but was certainly losing the fight. It looked like he might need a miracle shot to change the tide, and he’d never built much momentum. But this was a world title fight with a well-known guy, someone who’s been in tough many times and battled.
Akhmadaliev has stated his desire to fully unify at 122, and now he may get the chance to explore that. It’ll be tough, as the other two titlists (Stephen Fulton Jr with the WBO and Luis Nery with the WBC) are both with PBC, but it’s certainly not impossible. If there’s a good deal to be done, the sides should be able to work together, and if the fighters really want it, they just might be able to make it happen.
He has no mandatory with the IBF, though the WBA do have a mandatory challenger in Azat Hovhannisyan, which could also be pushed on PBC’s Brandon Figueroa, who holds the lesser “world” (“regular”) WBA title; that said, Akhmadaliev-Hovhannisyan would also be easy to make as both fighters are in DAZN camps, and certainly easier to make than produce a catchy hashtag for social media.
Shakhram Giyasov KO-3 Patricio Moreno
Pretty much a wipeout here, as Moreno couldn’t do anything with Giyasov (11-0, 9 KO), a 27-year-old junior welterweight who looks primed to start making a move in a weight class that could open up big time following the Taylor-Ramirez fight next month.
Giyasov put Moreno (28-5, 20 KO) down in the second round, then dropped him again for the 10 count in the final minute of the third frame. Moreno tried to find spots to pick, but they weren’t really there; he was out of his depth against Giyasov, who is a legitimate talent and a guy who doesn’t come to rack up rounds or mess about, he’s there to do business and get out.
Israil Madrimov UD-10 Emmany Kalombo
A clear and wide points win here for Madrimov (7-0, 5 KO), a 154-pounder who wants to fast track and make his way into bigger fights. Tough because the bulk of the good fighters in the division are with PBC, including both titlists (Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano), but he’ll have his shot eventually if he keeps winning.
Madrimov, 26, has shown some flaws in his pro career to date, including in this fight. His gas tank has been questioned in back-to-back outings now, and he also has a loose defense that does get him hit. But so far he’s taken shots pretty well, and his flashy, somewhat herky-jerky, switch-hitting style, with a natural aggression and fearlessness, can be tough, especially at this level.
Scores here were 98-92, 99-90, and 100-89 for Madrimov, who dropped Kalombo (14-1, 14 KO) in the eighth round and did try to finish, but couldn’t quite there. Bad Left Hook had the fight 100-89 for Madrimov, too.
The 30-year-old Kalombo showed enough you can say he’s no bum, but not enough to come close to an argument. His best stuff was all in counter, and he never found a comfort zone in the fight, never led the action. But at the very least he could be a good prospect checker, he’s a tough dude who took good punches from Madrimov.
Madrimov finally send Kalombo to the mat in round 8 pic.twitter.com/oXMgQ6GBTO— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) April 3, 2021
- Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov KO-1 Tasha Mjuaji: Pro debut and easy win for Mirzakhalilov, a junior featherweight or whatever weight he sticks at when he takes real fights. This was not a real fight. Tanzania’s Mjuaji (17-8-2, 5 KO) felt half a power shot from the home fighter and wanted nothing to do with the fight, running around and flopping to the canvas three times, the second ruled a slip. When the referee wouldn’t count him on that, he waited for half a jab to land and took a comical ass bump to the floor, where he stayed for the 10 count. Is what it is, etc. Not the first time we’ve seen something like it, won’t be the last. Mjuaji seemed a nice lad, I hope he enjoyed his trip to Uzbekistan.
- Bakhdir Jalolov TKO-2 Kristaps Zutis: An easy win for Jalolov (8-0, 8 KO), a 6’7” southpaw heavyweight, 26 years old, good amateur experience, potential threat in the division in the coming years. Zutis (7-2-2, 7 KO) got his record exposed for what it is in this one, as he was simply no match for Jalolov.
- Hasanboy Dusmatov TKO-2 Muhsin Kizota: Tanzania’s Kizota came in with the lame-brain nickname of “Mr. COVID,” and he was no match for Dusmatov (3-0, 3 KO), a former Olympic gold medalist who should fast track in the 108 lb division if he wants to do so. Dusmatov, 27, dropped Kizota (11-3, 5 KO) once in the first round and twice in the second before the referee saw enough. Kizota, 21, had no real business in a ring with Dusmatov, but he did try. It’s just that his very best efforts were not near Dusmatov’s level.