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MASAM SPORTS 6: MARLON TAPALES WILL CHALLENGE IBF/WBA JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION MURODJON AKHMADALIEV


PhilBoxing.com




Former World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales will challenge unified IBF/WBA junior featherweight titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev thereby delaying the Uzbek's goal of winning the undisputed championship because of the mandatory title defense.

Akhmadaliev has been ordered by the IBF to defend his title against Tapales, the No. 1 contender. The fight was mandated by the New Jersey-based boxing sanctioning body on January 4, and both camps were given a February 2 deadline to sign a deal in order to avoid a purse bid hearing.

“[The] mandatory title defense was due on or before January 3, 2022,” Carlos Chavez, chairman of IBF championship committee wrote to Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, promoter of Akhmadaliev and MP Promotions’ Sean Gibbons, handler of Tapales through an official letter, as reported by Boxing Scene.

“The leading available contender is #1 Marlon Tapales. Negotiations should commence immediately and be included by February 2, 2022. If you are unable to come to an agreement for this bout by February 2, 2022, the IBF will call for a purse bid.”

Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7KOs) has twice defended his unified titles since grabbing the belts from American Danny Roman by SD on January 30, 2020 at the Meridian at Island Gardens, Miami, Florida, U.S. He is a southpaw fighter from Chust, Uzbekistan and now trains in Indio, California under the watchful eyes of Joel Diaz.

His latest fight was a twelve-round unanimous decision win over Chile's Jose Velasquez last November 19 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Velasquez replaced WBA mandatory challenger Ronny Rios who was tested positive for COVID-19 just a week before the scheduled fight.

On April 3, Akhmadaliev scored a fifth-round knockout victory over IBF mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa of Japan in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It was his first match in his native country since winning the gold medal in the 2017 Asian Amateur Championships tournament. He was a 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist for Uzbekistan.

Tapales, age 29 years from Tubod, Lanao del Norte, has been dreaming of getting back into the world championship. He won the WBO bantamweight title by 11th round KO of Thailand's Pungluang Sor Singyuin on July 17, 2016 in Ayutthaya, Thailand after flooring him twice.

In his first defense a year later, the southpaw Tapales was stripped of the crown for weighing two pounds overweight but fought fiercely to stop Japanese challenger Shohei Omori by 11th round TKO on April 23, 2017 in Osaka, Japan.

Tapales knocked out of Hiroaki Teshigawara in the second round in the IBF title eliminator. He decked Japan's Hiroaki Teshigawara three times in scoring the stoppage win on December 11, 2021 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Tapales floored Teshigawara twice in the first round and once in the second round on the undercard of the Nonito Donaire vs. Reymart Gaballo title fight.

Per IBF purse bid rules, both fighters are prohibited from entering an agreement for another bout during the period for the ordered title fight. This will forbid Akhmadaliev from seeking more lucrative fights.

He was aiming a four-belt undisputed matchup with WBC/WBO junior featherweight champion Stephen Fulton (20-0, 8KOs). But both unified title holders knew that mandatory title defenses are waiting for them in 2022.

Promoter Jim Claude Manangquil of Sanman Promotions, Tapales' co-promoter with MP Promotions, said the IBF will likely order the Akhmadaliev-Tapales mandatory title fight by March or April. Tapales will surely be the underdog, but Manangquil assures Tapales is a different fighter under his new trainers Ernel Fontanilla and Ting Ariosa.

“Tapales is a different monster now. Everyone counted him out when he lost to [Ryosuke] Iwasa. It’s different now. He is in great shape and stronger. He will beat MJ,” said Manangquil as told to Ring TV.

Tapales says he is not threatened by the underdog tag. "I’m ready to fight and be the champion,” said Tapales.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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