Murodjon Akhmadaliev defeats Ryosuke Iwasa impressively in homecoming title defense
Unified IBF/WBA world super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KOs) defends his titles for the first time against mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (27-4, 17 KOs) at the Humo Arena in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. For the champ, this is his homecoming.
Akhmadaliev’s amateur pedigree is deep and long. Sporting an impressive 300-15 record while winning gold at the 2017 Asian Games, silver at the 2015 World Championships, and bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic games.
As a pro starting in March 0f 2018, he’s moved swiftly through the ranks. In only his seventh bout, the man nicknamed “MJ” stepped in the ring to face then-IBF/WBA champ, Daniel Roman, in January 2020. Displaying skills and moxie, the 26 year-old southpaw from Chust, Uzbekistan surprised many of the experts. Akhmadaliev out-boxed and out-fought Roman on the way to a hard-fought, split decision win.
Now he’s defending the title against Iwasa who is a hard and seasoned vet. The 31-year-old from Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan, is a former IBF super bantamweight champ and as tough as they come. He earned this opportunity with an impressive eleventh round TKO win over former WBO bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales.
The champ is one who can fight on both the front and back foot. Iwasa is a southpaw who likes to apply pressure and wear his opponents down. However, the former champion would find himself being the recipient of intelligently applied pressure all night!
IN CONTROL EARLY
The challenger is taller and longer. That forced Akhmadaliev to fight at a high pace and open the fight on the front foot. Nevertheless, the champ was effective coming forward. MJ’s jab is one of his better punches and he used that shot to push the mandatory challenger back often. Akhmadaliev not only has the better jab but the faster hands and feet. He used his speed and ring generalship to connect with sharp shots up the middle and around the guard of his opponent.
Although, Iwasa wasn’t just a “sitting duck”. He utilized the jab of his own to keep the champion at bay during some moments of the bout. However, the ring I.Q of Akhmadaliev left Iwasa unable to make the proper adjustments. He went from looking decent to looking like a beaten fighter quickly.
Round five saw the champ find a home for the left uppercut. He repeatedly landed that punch to the head and body of Iwasa. Sensing his fighter was in slight trouble, Akhmadaliev poured it on. With 1:30 to go in the round and Akhmadaliev relentlessly swarming Iwasa, the referee suddenly decided to call a halt to the contest. In this reporter’s opinion, it was a quick and unnecessary stoppage. Iwasa didn’t look hurt and was perfectly lucid at the time the referee stepped in. Sure, MJ was in charge and winning comfortably, but Iwasa was competitive and was not in trouble at the time the fight was waived.
Hell, he was even smiling in reaction to the champion’s attack!
Despite the early stoppage, Akhmadaliev was impressive. He looks to be the best fighter in an emerging and talented super bantamweight division. If he decides he wants to unify soon, he will have WBC champion Luis Nery and WBO champ Stephen Fulton to look forward to. Both are extremely talented and undefeated. Either would be a hell of a unification!
By: Michael Wilson Jr.