Uzbekistan’s undefeated WBA and IBF Super-Bantamweight World Champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev will return home to put his World Titles on the line against Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa on a huge night of boxing at the Humo Arena, Tashkent on Saturday April 3, live on DAZN.
Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) became the first unified World Champion from his homeland by ripping the belts from long-reigning champion Daniel Roman in a highly-skilled 12-round battle in Miami in January 2020, equaling Leon Spinks’ record of becoming a unified ruler in just eight pro fights.
‘MJ’s’ success in the paid ranks is no surprise after he turned pro in March 2018 having won Olympic bronze in 2016, World Championship silver in 2015 and Asian Games gold in 2017 and silver in 2015 – an impressive haul that solidified his position as one of the best products of the Uzbekistan amateur system.
Iwasa (27-3, 17 KOs) stopped Marlon Tapales in eleven rounds last time out in Brooklyn back in December 2019 to earn the Interim IBF 122lbs World Title, and the 31-year-old from Kashiwa is a former holder of the full Title, having captured it with a sixth round stoppage of Yukinori Oguni in September 2017.
The southpaw defended his Title against Ernesto Saulong in March 2018 before controversially losing it to Ireland’s TJ Doheny at the famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo five months later. Undeterred from his third career loss, Iwasa bounced back with two wins in 2019 and is determined to be crowned a two-time World Champion.
In the evening’s chief support bout, Super-Lightweight star Shakram Giyasov (10-0, 8 KOs) returns home for his first pro fight in his homeland. With over a million Instagram followers and massive popularity in his home country, ‘Wonderboy’ rose to fame after winning silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, adding to his gold medals at the World and Asian Championships at Welterweight.
Since signing promotional terms with Eddie Hearn in April 2019, the 27-year-old sensation has displayed his destructive power with big knockout wins over Colombian former World Champion Darlyes Perez and Wiston Campos in his last fight.
Rising Super-Welterweight star Israil Madrimov (6-0, 5 KOs) has made an electric start to life in the paid ranks, leaving his decorated amateur career behind and winning a Title in his first pro outing in November 2018 to signal his intentions.
‘The Dream’ defeated Eric Walker in a final eliminator for the WBA World Title in the streets of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma last August to stay on track to beat his ‘brother’ Akhmadaliev’s record of unifying his division before eight fights.
This time he faces the Democratic Republic Of The Congo's Emmany Kalombo (14-0, 14 KOs), who has won all fourteen of his professional contests inside the distance since turning professional in Kempton Park, South Africa in August 2015.
Some of the best up-and-coming fighters from one of boxing’s emerging powerhouses have the chance to impress; undefeated Heavyweight Bakhodir Jalolov (7-0, 6 KOs) looks to extend his four-fight KO streak, Brooklyn-based Lightweight Elnur Abduraimov (7-0, 6 KOs) fights for the second time in 2021, Flyweight prospect Hasanboy Dusmatov (2-0, 2 KOs) aims for another early finish, Cruiserweight Sanjar Tursanov (2-0, 1 KO) sees action and there’s professional debuts for Welterweight Ikboljon Kholdarov and Featherweight Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov.
"It is a great honour and responsibility to defend my Titles for the first time in my motherland, Uzbekistan, in front of the eyes of my compatriots," said Akhmadaliev. "My opponent Ryosuke Iwasa is a serious contender, so I am preparing for a difficult fight. I am thinking only about the defence of my Titles, but my main goal is to unify all of the belts."
Matchroom Sport Managing Director Eddie Hearn said: “This is a huge moment for boxing in Uzbekistan and for Matchroom as we continue our global expansion. For many years Uzbekistan fighters have been powerhouses of the amateur scene, and more recently they have emerged with significant presence in the professional code but have had to rely on opportunities in major boxing markets, particularly the US. Now, as superstars in their own country, they get the opportunity to fight in front of their own people in what will be a historic night.”
"This is an extremely important event for boxing in Uzbekistan," said Andrey Ryabinskiy, Head of World of Boxing. “I think that it is a great opportunity for the fighters to start 2021 with impressive wins right in front of the eyes of their compatriots, as well as to show their skills to boxing fans worldwide. These guys are progressing at a fast pace, and I think they will become huge stars in the future."