Akhmadaliev set to face Rios

Fresh off his five-round win over Ryosuke Iwasa in Tashkent at the weekend, unified world super-bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev has his next challenger lined up.

The WBA has ordered that the high-octane Uzbek must face Californian No.1 contender Ronny Rios (33-3, 16 KOs). WBA ‘Super’ and IBF title holder Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KOs) was originally supposed to agree a deal with Rios by January 29, but the Panamanian sanctioning body allowed the champion to face his IBF mandatory Iwasa first. Now all paths lead to Rios.

Akhmadaliev-Rios must be agreed by May 6 or the bout will head to purse bids.

Former WBC title challenger Rios, who dropped a decision to Rey Vargas in August 2017, is riding a four-fight winning streak including a sixth-round KO of the previously unbeaten Diego De La Hoya. In February, the Californian decisioned Oscar Negrete in his first bout in 15 months