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Murodjon Akhmadaliev leads the charge in Uzbekistan

Murodjon Akhmadaliev
Eric Espada/Getty Images
Unified WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev is set to perform in his home country for the first time as a professional

UZBEKISTAN’S unified WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev, 8-0 (6), is set to perform in his home country for the first time as a professional this Saturday (April 3). Opposing the unbeaten 26-year-old at the Humo Arena in Tashkent will be Japan’s former IBF super-bantam boss Ryosuke Iwasa, 27-3 (17).

A 2015 World silver medal-winner and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Akhmadaliev took the WBA and IBF titles from Daniel Roman in a top-quality contest in January last year.

A split decision triumph saw the Indio, California-based fighter become a unified world champion in only his eighth pro outing.

Iwasa is coming off an 11th-round stoppage of ex-WBO bantamweight belt-holder Marlon Tapales in December 2019. With the win, the 31-year-old secured the IBF Interim strap at 122lbs, which put him in a position to challenge his fellow southpaw this weekend.

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Boasting far greater pro experience than his Uzbek rival, Kashiwa’s Iwasa is an all-action combatant who leaves everything in the ring. However, considering that he has been stopped twice before, he will be up against it when taking on Akhmadaliev, who is a hard and educated puncher.

Expect an entertaining tussle, with both men firing off fierce combinations, before the accurate Akhmadaliev’s heavy hands produce an inside-the-distance victory and a successful first title defence.

Also appearing on this Matchroom promotion, televised live on DAZN, are eight of Akhmadaliev’s countrymen – all previously high-class amateurs. Shakhram Giyasov and Israil Madrimov are the two best-known of the bunch at the moment, but Hasanboy Dusmatov, Bakhodir Jalolov, Elnur Abduraimov, Sanjar Tursunov, Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov and Ikboljon Kholdarov are certainly names to watch out for.

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