Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez will enjoy a strong supporting cast for his April 8th flyweight title bid against Cristian Gonzalez. Matchroom Boxing announced today that the show will also see Murodjon Akhmadaliev defend his super bantamweight titles against IBF mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales and featherweight prospect Raymond Ford step up in class against Jessie Magdaleno.
Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KO) managed just one fight in 2022, a comprehensive defeat of the resurgent Ronny Rios in June. That cleared his WBA obligation, leaving former bantamweight champion Tapales (36-3, 19 KO) next in line thanks to a 3:06 mauling of Hiroaki Teshigawara in a 2021 eliminator.
The stakes are higher than just two titles, though, as the winner will be in position to face either Naoya Inoue or Stephen Fulton for undisputed status. While “MJ” versus “Cool Boy Steph” never materialized, the iron was never as hot as it will be should Inoue or Fulton score a dramatic win.
“I’m happy to be back in the ring,” said Akhmadaliev. “It’s been a while, but finally we’re here for an exciting match against a great fighter in Tapales. He’s a former champion, we have similar styles, so I am preparing for tough action-packed fight on April 8. Thanks to Matchroom, World of Boxing, my team and all the support from boxing fans.”
“I am very excited again for this opportunity to fight for not one but two World titles,” said Tapales. “This is my dream to become World Champion again. I would like to thank my Team at Sanman Boxing, Knucklehead Boxing, Shapiro Sports, Viva Promotions and TGB Promotions for getting me this opportunity. I will bring pride and glory to the Philippines when I win both the IBF and WBA belts.”
The 23-year-old Ford (13-0-1, 17 KO) has had his share of ups and downs, notably fighting Aaron Perez to a split draw and arguably Edward Vazquez three fights later, but he’s definitely in the “up” part of the cycle after dominant wins over Richard Medina and Sakaria Lucas. Magdaleno (29-1, 18 KO) fights for the second time since a 2020 DQ over Yenifel Vicente, and though it’s been some time since we’ve seen him in with a warm body, he should be Ford’s toughest test to date.
Speaking of inconsistency, Thomas Mattice (20-3-1, 15 KO) looks to build off of his solid win over Christian Tapia against another unbeaten in Ramiro Cesena (16-0-1, 13 KO). The 23-year-old “Demon” has a notable victory over Bekman Soylybayev and will be making his U.S. debut.