Murodjon ‘MJ’ Akhmadaliev would like to welcome Stephen Fulton to the title mix.
Of course, that invitation has long extended to any perceived threat in the junior middleweight division.
Philadelphia’s Fulton (19-0, 8KOs) becomes the latest to strap an alphabet belt around his waist after dethroning unbeaten WBO titlist Angelo Leo (20-1, 9KOs) in their high octane Showtime main event last month. The outcomes continues a trend of massive turnover at the top level of the loaded 122-pound division. Leo was a titlist for just five months, while Tijuana’s Luis Nery (31-0, 24KO) claimed the WBC belt just last September.
That puts Uzbekistan’s Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6KOs) as the division’s elder statesmen, having served as a two-belt titlist on the strength of his scintillating 12-round win over Danny Roman more than a year ago in Miami. All challengers have been welcomed since then, an offer that still stands regardless of promotional affiliation.
“Since I defeated Danny Roman last January to win the WBA and IBF world titles I have welcomed the opportunity to face the other champions in the division,” Akhmadaliev told BoxingScene.com shortly after Fulton’s win.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left Akhmadaliev without a title defense, although that status will soon change. The 26-year old southpaw—who is managed by Vadim Kornilov and trains out Joel Diaz’s facility in Indio, California—is due to next face Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa to honor an IBF mandatory obligation. The bout is written in pencil for March 13 though terms are still being solidified.
The sooner the better as far as the fight getting over the line, as it will free up his time to enter more significant challenges.
“I look forward to future unifications [with Fulton and Nery] after my mandatory obligations are taken care of,” notes Akhmadaliev.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox