Barrios vs Akhmedov
Undefeated fighters Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov have been ordered to fight for the WBA “regular” junior welterweight title.
In June, the WBA made some major announcements. First, they upgraded Regis Prograis to “super” champion. Secondly, they made the respective top two rated fighters face each other for the “regular” title. This is a good fight when you look at the mechanics of both men.
Barrios, a 24-year old Texas native, has been improving with every fight while taking advantage of his unusual frame. Barrios stands 5’10 with a 71-inch arm reach. He has good reflexes, footwork, counter-punching and body punching. This was evident with his second-round knockout over Juan Jose Velasco back in May. In July 2018, the talented young fighter would move from prospect to contender by punishing challenger Jose Roman. He would capture the vacant WBA Inter-Continental welterweight title in the process.
Akhmedov, age 28 , was an amateur standout in the 2016 Olympics Games. His record of 7-0, 6 KOs doesn’t give the full scope of his ability. There have even been comparisons of his style to current pound for pound unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
This shouldn’t be surprising given the fact he comes from the Lomachenko school of boxing sharing the same trainer. Displaying good footwork, using angles and good punch placement keeps his opponents off balance.
In 2018, the southpaw boxer survived a scare against Ismael Barroso after being knocked down in the third round. He got up to stop his opponent in the ninth round, winning the WBA Inter-Continental title. This would answer the question of how he would respond when faced with adversity
The problem that the winner will have is getting a fight with the winner of the unified championship bout between WBA/IBF champions Regis Progrias and Josh Taylor. Whoever wins the World Boxing Super Series tournament is looking to possibly face the winner of the unification bout between the WBC/WBO champions Jose Ramirez and Maurice Hooker.
Even after this clears, you will have each sanctioning body declaring the newly-crowned undisputed champion has mandatories to fulfill. It could also turn into a situation that current WBA regular light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is going through. The sanctioning body still hasn’t upgraded Bivol’s status following former unified champion Andre Ward’s reitrement.
However this plays out will be interesting, given the deep talent in the junior welterweight division. Both men will undoubtedly put it all on the line in their first world title contest.
By: Garrisson Bland