Akhmadaliev hunting every belt

WBA ‘Super’ and IBF 122lbs champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev is not content with the belts already in his collection and is hunting more titles.

Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) defends his world crowns against Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa at the Humo Arena in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Saturday (live worldwide on DAZN, 3pm GMT) and, if victorious, will turn his attentions to the other champions in the division. WBC champion Luis Nery and WBO king Stephen Fulton are the other title holders in a talented weight class.

The Uzbek became a unified champion in just his seventh pro bout when he dethroned Daniel Roman in Miami in January 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic put his career on hold. Now the 26-year-old defends his titles in a homecoming event where he is joined by friends and fellow unbeatens Israil Madrimov (154lbs) and Shakhram Giyasov (140lbs).

But former IBF champion and current ‘Interim’ title holder Iwasa (27-3, 17 KOs) brings a good pedigree and is no pushover first defence.

“When you fight at home, defending what belongs to you, that’s probably the most important fight,” said Akhmadaliev. “To give a good fight under the bright lights, that’s what I’m looking forward to. It’s a dream for any fighter to perform at home.

“Israil, Shakhram and I have been together for 15 years. We worked for World amateur rankings and becoming Asian champions, World champions, Olympians. We’ve been together through everything. Now being professional and have the chance to fight in a huge event at home, already being the champion is huge.

“Ryosuke Iwasa is a warrior, he’s been in the ring with the very best. I rate him very highly and believe he is a very dangerous fighter. I have studied him and am ready for him as always. My team have done the work and I will do the work in the ring. I’m not going to give up anything to anybody.

“He is trying to get what is mine, but that’s not going to happen. Boxing is not always easy, just like life. It’s pretty much always hard, you have to have tough fights in the ring and in life. You have to endure tough times and that’s how it’s been in my life. I’m prepared for any challenge because of that. I am only focused on Iwasa, but as a champion my dream is to win every belt.

“If everything goes well tomorrow night, I will not avoid anybody, I want all the belts. I’m blessed to be a world champion, now defending my belts at home is the next goal for me. I’m looking forward to showcasing myself which is important to my countrymen, family and friends. I look forward to bringing the attention of the boxing world to Uzbekistan.”

Main image: Ezekiel Thomas/Matchroom Boxing.