Murodjon Akhmadaliev Stops Ronny Rios with One Hand!
After nearly a year of waiting, Super WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KO’s) staged the third defense of his titles against Ronny Rios (33-3, 16 KO’s). This is because the match was first ordered by the WBA well back in April of 2021. The two would have fought last November. Unfortunately though, Rios was forced to bow out due to a positive COVID-19 result. In his place, Akhmadaliev would go on to face and defeat Jose Velazquez.
MJ, 27, originally snagged his two titles by defeating Daniel Roman by split decision back on January 30, 2020. As the champion, Akhmadaliev has staged two successful title defenses versus Ryosuke Iwasa (fifth round TKO) and the aforementioned Jose Velasquez (UD). Here, in this match, many thought that MJ would have his work cut out for him facing pure pressure fighter Ronny Rios. Rios, 32, secured this match for himself by toppling Diego De La Hoya back in July of 2019 to secure the WBA mandatory position.
QUICK HEAD START
To open, both men were respectful and traded jabs and not much more. Each were mindful and selective with their shots. During the second period, the volume and variety of punches increased for the two bruisers but not by leaps and bounds. The Californian was pressing the action by inching forward behind his snapping jab, while Akhmadaliev moved in reverse. Despite fighting off the back foot, it was the champion who landed the heavier leather. A thudding right hook and head-ringing straight left in the final 30 seconds were particularly memorable.
The third closely mirrored the second. At the top of the fourth, Rios suffered a crunching right hook to the ribs that severely bothered him. Recognizing his impairment, MJ hopped right on the challenger and hammered him with heavy shots to the head and body. The assault went on for about a minute. To his credit, the challenger caught a second wind and landed enough shots to regain his respect. Toward the end of the seventh, Rios started catching a good grove, landing a number of notable body shots.
DRAMA DOWN THE CLOSE
In the eighth, it became very evident that something was wrong with the champion’s left power hand. When the paw initially went absent, it slowed his offense and emboldened Rios. Rather than shrink from the fire though, Akhmadaliev adjusted and landed more clean lead right hooks than the law should allow. The crowd ‘ooh’d and ‘ahh’d like some Smurfs at the fireworks.
Following a quiet ninth, Rios came roaring out for the tenth. The Californian did blast MJ with a few clean, impressive head shots to begin. Sadly for Rios, he would mainly hit air during the meat of the period and begin taking fire by the close. While it was a sleepy period, the only thing that MJ was missing was a trench coat and bees. This is due to controlling the round exclusively with his right hand and slaughtering him with that hook in true Candy Man fashion.
Despite more than likely being up on the cards, it was MJ who came roaring out the corner with a two-fisted attack. Two minutes into the brutal ambush, Akhmadaliev sank Rios to the canvas with a nasty left hook to the body. The brave champion would climb back to his feet, but he was so badly handicapped that referee Rafael Ramos quickly called a halt to the bout. This was certainly an impressive win under duress for Murodjon Akhamdaliev.
During the post-fight interview, MJ was asked about a possible showdown for undisputed with unified champion Stephen Fulton. His response left the door open.
“I’m ready for anyone and any fight!”
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By: Bakari Simpson