Hard-hitting Uzbekistani Murodjon Akhmadaliev is set to defend his WBA and IBF World Super Bantamweight Championships against Ronny Rios in San Antonio, Texas. Rios is the WBA mandatory challenger.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0) had a stellar amateur career and has continued his great form in the professional ranks. ‘MJ’ picked up the WBA and IBF belts by defeating Daniel Roman in only his eighth fight as a professional. It was a close competitive fight, and Akhmadaliev came on top via split decision.
Following that win, Akhmadaliev had a title defense in his native Uzbekistan. Former IBF World Super Bantamweight Champion Ryosuke Iwasa was his opponent and suffered a fifth-round TKO defeat. It was a controversial stoppage, but Akhmadaliev was on top of the fight.
Akhmadaliev would then face Jose Velasquez and defeat his opponent via unanimous decision. It was a dominant performance and all three judges only gave Velasquez one round.
Watch Akhmadaliev face Velasquez:
Ronny Rios (33-3) has not fought since February 2021. The American beat Oscar Negrete over 10 rounds in his last fight. Rios revived quite a stagnant career with a knockout of Diego De La Hoya in 2019. He has lost three times as a professional to Azat Hovhannisyan, Rey Vargas, and Robinson Castellanos. In the defeats to Hovhannisyan and Castellanos, Rios was stopped.
The undercard features Jessica McCaskill against Alma Ibarra for the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF World Female Flyweight Championships. Jesse Rodrigues will face Wisaksil Wangek, also known as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, for the WBC World Super Flyweight Championship.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs. Ronny Rios Prediction
All eyes are on Stephen Fulton, who looked impressive against Daniel Roman. He dominated Roman in his last fight, a defense of his WBC and WBO World Super Bantamweight Titles. Akhmadaliev will want to put on a show to send a message to Fulton. Akhmadaliev has much better boxing credentials than Ronny Rios and the betting odds reflect this as the Uzbekistani is a huge favorite.
Akhmadaliev has a great deal of power and he will want to show that on Saturday. Rios is prepared to win, but has been put on the canvas and stopped multiple times. The greatest win of Rios' Career was against Oscar De La Hoya’s nephew Diego. Akhmadaliev is a level above that and, when Rios has faced the elite in the division, he has been stopped.
Prediction: Murodjon Akhmadaliev via TKO