Murodjon Akhmadaliev isn’t obligated to give Daniel Roman a rematch.
Uzbekistan’s Akhmadaliev was the WBA’s mandatory challenger for one of Roman’s championships when they fought in January 2020, thus there wasn’t a rematch clause in their contracts. Roman remains disappointed, though, that Akhmadaliev doesn’t seem the least bit interested in fighting him again.
Their 12-round, 122-pound title fight was very close and seemingly warrants a rematch.
“By the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like he’s willing to give me the rematch,” Roman told BoxingScene.com. “I gave him the chance when I was a champion, so he should return the favor back. We’ve still got unfinished business with MJ.”
Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KOs), a southpaw who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, defeated Los Angeles’ Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) by 12-round split decision to win the IBF and WBA belts from him 15 months ago in Miami. Judges Carlos Sucre and Nelson Vazquez scored their fight 115-113 for Akhmadaliev, who lost 115-113 on the card of judge Rodolfo Aguilar.
The 26-year-old Akhmadaliev made one voluntary defense since he beat Roman, a fifth-round technical knockout of Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa (27-4, 17 KOs) on April 3 at Humo Arena in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The WBA has since ordered Akhmadaliev to make a mandatory defense of its title against American Ronny Rios (33-3, 16 KOs).
“I think after our fight,” Roman said, “I think he saw what kind of fighter I was and thought, ‘You know what? I can’t give him a rematch.’ That’s what I think.”
Roman will fight for the second time Saturday night since losing his titles to Akhmadaliev. He’ll meet Mexico’s Ricardo Espinoza (25-3, 21 KOs) in a 10-round junior featherweight fight Showtime will air as the co-feature of a tripleheader from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The 31-year-old Roman defeated Dominican veteran Juan Carlos Payano (21-5, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision in his most recent action, a 12-round WBC elimination match September 26 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. That victory guaranteed Roman a shot at the WBC super bantamweight title, but the winner between WBC champion Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) and WBA world champ Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 14 KOs) in the main event Saturday night is expected to battle WBO champ Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) in a title unification match September 11 at an undetermined venue.
That’ll prolong Roman’s wait for another title shot. Roman is ranked second by the WBC and WBO, third by the WBA and sixth by the IBF.
The Roman-Espinoza bout will be the second of three fights Showtime will air Saturday night. The telecast is set to begin at 10 p.m. ET with a 10-rounder in which Sacramento’s Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) will meet Mexican veteran Juan Carlos Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing