Stephen Fulton doesn’t suspect dominating Daniel Roman will make Murodjon Akhmadaliev think twice about wanting to fight him later this year.
Fulton feels that the undefeated southpaw from Uzbekistan will want to become the fully unified 122-pound champion if he beats Ronny Rios in their 12-round title fight scheduled for June 25. Philadelphia’s Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) doesn’t expect competing promoters and television networks/streaming services to prohibit them from fighting for full supremacy in their division, either.
Akhmadaliev is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, whereas Fulton works with TGB Promotions and is affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Fulton hopes those competitors can come together to make their full unification fight next for him.
“Y’all already know I want MJ next, so we can unify,” Fulton said. “Let’s just get this over with. No need to wait around. Hopefully, he pull his victory out and we can make it happen.”
DAZN will stream the 12-round bout between Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7 KOs) and Rios (33-3, 16 KOs), of Santa Ana, California, as part of the Jesse Rodriguez-Srisaket Sor Rungvisai undercard from Tech Port Arena in San Antonio.
Akhmadaliev owns the IBF and WBA titles and Fulton holds the WBC and WBO belts. If their fight is put together, the Akhmadaliev-Fulton winner would have the opportunity to become boxing’s ninth fully unified champion in any division during the four-belt era.
If Rios were to upset Akhmadaliev, a full unification fight with Fulton would require Haymon’s company to work with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Rios. Haymon’s PBC and Golden Boy typically don’t do business, unless a title fight is mandated by a sanctioning organization.
“We’ll see what MJ does,” Fulton said. “[I want the fight] for sure before the year out. I’m hoping like October or earlier than that. October, September, something like that. But I feel like I wanna work on a lot more things as well in the ring.”
Fulton shut out Roman, the mandatory challenger for his WBC crown, on two scorecards in their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event (120-108, 120-108, 119-109).
The 27-year-old Akhmadaliev’s victory over Los Angeles’ Roman (29-4-1, 10 KOs) was much closer in January 2020, as he edged Roman by split decision. The 32-year-old Roman won that bout 115-113 on one scorecard, but he lost 115-113 on the other two cards at Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami.
If the Akhmadaliev match doesn’t materialize next, Fulton isn’t certain whether he would remain in the 122-pound division. The 27-year-old champion has repeatedly stated that he’ll feel stronger at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds and there isn’t anything significant to accomplish in his current weight class other than becoming its undisputed champion.
“I’m not sure yet,” Fulton said. “I’ll have to really think that over. I’m not sure, because I want them other two belts. And I obviously can make the weight good, as we seen. I wasn’t boney in the face, so I don’t know. But I think we can make that fight happen for sure. I think we can make it happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.