One mandatory down, one to go.
Less than a week after dispatching IBF #1 contender Ryosuke Iwasa, unified super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev has gotten the call to face WBA “gold” champ Ronny Rios. The pair have until May 6th to come to terms and avoid a purse bid.
Rios (33-3, 16 KO) has done quite well for himself since a 1-2 skid saw him fall to Rey Vargas and Azat Hovhannisyan, putting together a 4-0 run that includes dominant wins over Diego De La Hoya and Oscar Negrete. The WBA previously ordered him to fight “world” champion Brandon Figueroa, but the pandemic seemingly put the kibosh on that.
Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KO) took both the WBA “super” and IBF belts from Daniel Roman in January 2020, but would not see action again until last Saturday’s victory over Iwasa. Akhmadaliev looked dominant against the very capable former champ, though the victory was marred by an early stoppage.
I can’t see this fight being anything but entertaining, and even if the favored Akhmadaliev has a strong claim to being the best 122-pounder in the world, Rios will make him earn it.