Murodjon Akhmadaliev to Make Yet Another Mandatory Defense
The IBF has ordered negotiations to start for a fight between unified junior featherweight champion Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7 KOs) and IBF mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales (35-3, 18 KOs). A February 2 deadline has been given to negotiate a deal, or else the bout will go to purse bids.
Akmadaliev won the WBA ‘super’ and IBF belts after defeating Daniel Roman in January of 2020 and has defended them twice. In his last bout, the champ scored a unanimous decision win over the rugged Jose Valesquez in November 2021.
Tapales earned the mandatory position with a second-round KO over Hiroaka Teshigawara in December of 2021. A former WBO champion at bantamweight, Tapales is hungry to win a second world title.
NOT AN AUTOMATIC
While the IBF has handed down this order, it is somewhat unclear if this will be Akhmadaliev’s next bout. That is because there are unresolved issues with the WBA. In April of 2021, they ordered him to face their mandatory challenger, Ronny Rios. They were supposed to fight in November of 2021, but Rios had to withdraw after contracting COVID-19. Instead, “MJ” fought Valesquez.
Should Akhmadaliev-Tapales take place, it shapes up to be a pretty good scrap. Many prognosticators would consider the unbeaten fighter from Uzbekistan to be the favorite. However, Tapales is far from a pushover and is a live underdog. Stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing for further updates.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.