Murodjon Akhmadaliev will defend his WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles against Marlon Tapales, a fight the IBF ordered last September.
Mike Coppinger of ESPN.com reports that the bout will “likely” be held outside of the United States in the “early spring.”
The deal being reached means the fighters and their camps avoid a purse bid.
Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KO) is one of a pair of two-belt titleholders at 122 lbs, along with Stephen Fulton Jr. That fight is the one most people want to see — or either of them against the incoming Naoya Inoue — but the bout with Tapales (36-3, 19 KO) was always going to have to happen, or Akhmadaliev would have had to vacate his IBF title.
The 30-year-old Tapales has won three straight following a TKO-11 defeat against Ryosuke Iwasa in 2019, and the Filipino has had five of his last six fights in the U.S., but Akhmadaliev, 28, may be looking at another home country headline bout in Uzbekistan.
Akhmadaliev beat the aforementioned Iwasa in Apr. 2021 in Tashkent, which is his only pro fight outside of the States to date. Matchroom have talked a lot about building up fan bases in places like Uzbekistan, and this is the right sort of fight for that.