Akhmadaliev On Fulton: “It Doesn’t Matter To Me; Whatever Hearn Says”

Will We See a Akhmadaliev v Fulton Showdown for Undisputed?

Murodjon Akhmadaliev and Stephen Fulton take poses
Murodjon Akhmadaliev (L), Stephen Fulton | Credit: Ryan Hafey (R)

Murodjon Akhmadaliev Leaves Door Open to Face Stephen Fulton for Undisputed


At the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, Texas, Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KOs) defended the unified WBA Super/IBF junior featherweight titles for the third time with a twelfth-round stoppage win over the mandatory WBA challenger, Ronny Rios (33-3, 16 KOs).

Akhmadaliev had to overcome some adversity as he injured his left hand in round two. But the champ showed maturity, adjusted his attack, and fought through the pain to overwhelm and take out the formidable challenger.

ALL ROADS LEADING TO “COOL BOY STEPH”?

Before the fight, fans and pundits opined about a possible showdown between Akmadaliev and unified WBC/WBO junior featherweight champ Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton Jr (21-0, 8 KOs). After the win over Rios, “MJ” was asked if he fancies a fight with Fulton.

“I’m ready for anyone, any fight. It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever the big boss will say, Eddie Hearn, we’ll go that way.”

If wondering whether Fulton was paying attention to the ongoings in San Antonio, indeed he was. Watching the contest like most fans, the loquacious fighter from Philadelphia took to social media and left this message in response to Akhmadaliev’s performance.

Stephen Fulton calls for fight with Murodjon Akhmadaliev

Fulton is coming off an impressive win over the previous unified 122-pound champion, Daniel Roman (29-4-1, 10 KOs), on June 4. While training for that fight, Fulton sat down for an interview with 3Kings Boxing and said his goal is to get in the ring with Akhmadaliev.

The question now becomes, can that fight be made? Well, there are some impending hurdles that must be jumped over. Akhmadaliev is promoted by Hearn while Fulton fights for PBC. One would think that the promotional companies could hammer out some kind of deal, especially if there’s decent money on the table. However, a couple of things would have to be settled on by all parties.

WHAT MUST BE IRONED OUT?

Is there a true A-side? Some would argue “no” because each man holds two world titles apiece. But, Fulton is the more well-known and popular fighter among the boxing masses. There’s also the question of where is the fight televised? Would it be on DAZN, or on SHOWTIME? All of that must be agreed to at the negotiating table.

Then there’s the issue of sanctioning body obligations. In January 2022, the IBF ordered Akhmadaliev to face their mandatory challenger and one-time WBO bantamweight champion, Marlon Tapales. The guess is before a showdown with Fulton, “MJ” would first have to fight Tapales.

Akhmadaliev and Fulton have separated themselves from the lot at junior featherweight. A showdown between them would be for undisputed status and currently the most lucrative matchup in the division. But here’s the reality: if IBF is adamant that Akhmadaliev face his mandatory, the earliest fans would see an Akhmadaliev-Fulton scrap is in early-mid 2023. It’s a fight both men want. It’s a fight fans are calling for with more frequency. Unfortunately, you may have to wait a little while before seeing it.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for 3kingsboxing.com.