As the rest of the division’s titlists pursue unification bouts, Murodjon Akhmadaliev is saddled with his second straight mandatory challenge.
A purse bid has been called for by the World Boxing Association for an ordered fight between Uzbekistan’s Akhamdaliev—the unified WBA “Super” and IBF junior featherweight titlist—and California’s Ronny Rios (33-3, 16KOs), the sanctioning body’s “Gold” titlist and mandatory challenger. The 30-day period for negotiations between camps expired on May 6, resulting in the ordered purse bid hearing.
The date set aside for the event is May 24, with the session open to all WBA-registered promoters.
The bout will mark the second fight in a row where Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7KOs) is forced to make a mandatory title defense. In his most recent bout, the 2016 Bronze medalist and reigning unified titlist turned away Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa via 5th round stoppage this past April in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The win satisfied his IBF mandatory obligation, though he now remains on the hook with the WBA.
Akhmadaliev is represented by World of Boxing, with his past four bouts to have taken place on shows promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and which aired live on DAZN.
Rios made his way to the top contender slot with a 6th round knockout of unbeaten Diego De La Hoya in July 2013. The 31-year-old Compton native-who fights under the Golden Boy banner—has since added a 4th round knockout of Hugo Berrio and a 10-round decision over Oscar Negrete in his most recent start this past February 13 in Indio, California. All three bouts aired live on DAZN.
Promoters looking to obtain rights to the fight must submit a minimum bid of $150,000. The winning purse amount will be split 75/25 in favor of Akhmadaliev as the defending champion. WBA rules allow for both sides to continue to engage in talks, with a confirmed agreement within that period to cancel any ordered purse bid hearing.
The ruling allows WBA “World” junior featherweight titlist Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 16KOs) to pursue other fights, beginning with a showdown versus WBC titlist Luis Nery (31-0, 24KOs) this Saturday, live on Showtime from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The winner will then face WBO junior featherweight titlist Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8KOs) atop a September 11 event to also air on Showtime.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox