An ordered fight between IBF/WBA “Super” junior featherweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev and mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales will head straight to purse bid.
No sooner than the IBF called for the fight, the team representative Tapales informed the sanctioning body of its decision to forego the assigned negotiation period. The session will now take place January 18, to be conducted from IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey.
“The IBF received a written certification from Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions on behalf of Marlon Tapales indicating that they were not willing to participate in negotiations and requested an immediate purse bid pursuant to IBF Rule 10A,” IBF president Daryl Peoples noted to all IBF-registered promoters via official letter, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The IBF is ordering a purse bid in these offices on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at 12 Noon. Bids must be submitted at 11:45 AM to be promptly opened at 12 Noon.”
Per IBF rules, the minimum accepted bid is $25,000 for a junior featherweight title fight between a defending title claimant and a number-one or number-two contender. The bid must be accompanied by a $5,000 non-refundable deposit to be accepted. The winning bid will be split 65/35, with 65% in favor of Akhmadaliev as the defending champion.
Per IBF rule 10(F), the promoter who obtains the rights to the title fight must submit final contracts “no later than fifteen (15) days following the purse bid procedure. The contract shall the amount of the purse, the site, the date, the location of the bout and provide for a minimum of three (3) round trip coach air travel to the site of the bout (unless local to the fighter), accommodations for not less than three (3) persons for four (4) nights, payment for all required visas, and for the reasonable cooperation of the contestants to promote the bout.”
Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7KOs) twice defended his unified titles since dethroning Danny Roman nearly two years ago. The unbeaten southpaw from Chust, Uzbekistan—who now trains out of Joel Diaz’s facility in Indio, California—is coming off a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Jose Velasquez last November 19 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Velasquez was\ a late replacement for WBA mandatory challenger Ronny Rios who tested positive for Covid barely a week ahead of the fight.
Rios’ current place in the title rotation is further complicated by a WBA ruling declaring Azat Hovhannisyan as its mandatory challenger in the 122-pound division—a determination that was made prior to the eventually canceled Akhmadaliev-Rios bout. Nevertheless, the IBF is next in line with the winner to face whomever the WBA assigns as its official challenger.
In his previous outing, Akhmadaliev scored a fifth-round knockout of IBF mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa last April 3 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The bout was his first in his home country since an amateur tournament in 2017, one year after capturing a Bronze medal for Uzbekistan in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Tapales enters talks armed with a swarm of boxing talent, represented by MP Promotions, Sanman Boxing, Shapiro Sports, and Viva Promotions. It was a full court press by his co-promoters to get the resurgent 29-year-old southpaw from Kapatagan, Philippines back in the title picture.
A second-round knockout of Hiroaki Teshigawara came with the IBF’s blessing as a title eliminator, honoring such a request by Tapales’ team. Tapales rose to the occasion, flooring Teshigawara three times in just 3:06 worth of ring action in forcing the stoppage in their December 11 clash at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Per IBF purse bid rules, neither fighter is permitted to enter an agreement for another bout during the period for the ordered title fight. This prevents Akhmadaliev from pursuing bigger fights, such as a four-belt undisputed showdown with WBC/WBO junior featherweight titlist Stephen Fulton (20-0, 8KOs). Such a fight was never formally discussed by either side, as both unified titlists seemed aware of mandatory title defenses looming ahead in the new year.
In the event that nobody bids on the fight, a second purse bid hearing will be called per IBF Rule 10A covering purse bid procedures. Should that session fail to produce a single bidder, the title could be declared vacant.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox