Just moments ago in San Antonio we saw WBA "Super" an IBF Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] retain his titles, and record his third defense, as he defeated American challenger Ronny Rios (33-4, 16) with a 12th round TKO.
The bout started slowly, with both men getting behind their jabs with both lookign to see what the other hand, and ease their own way into the bout. Through the opening stanza there was little to pick them apart, with Akhmadaliev looking the crisper, sharper, faster fighter, but outside of a single left hand he didn't land too much of note. What was interesting through the round was Rios using a lot of feints, that kept Akhmadaliev on his toes.
Rounds 2 and 3 saw the tempo slowly improve as the fight gradually warmed up with Rios cranking up the pressure round by round.
The first real talking point came in round 4, when an uppercut to the body of Rios left him in agony, that had to tough out. He looked really hurt, but somehow stayed on his feet, as Akhmadaliev tried to close the show but failed. The body shot showed that Akhmadaliev had the power to hurt the challenger, but he failed to repeat the feat as Rios showed his toughness and pressed more. That pressure did see him have success, but he was taking more than he was giving as Akhmadaliev proved to be an accurate puncher, especially with his jab, which helped neutralise the pressure of the challenger.
In round 6, whilst controlling the bout, Akhmadaliev suffered an injury to his left hand, which was a shame, as it left him a one-handed fighter. Despite that the skills of Akhmadaliev shined through as he continued to use his jab and movement well, and out boxed Rios, who kept pressing but having limited success. In round 8 it seemed that Rios was becoming aware that the champion was 100% and pressed a lot more, however that left him in range for Akhmadlaiev's right hook which began to land at will, and took a toll on Rios who was forced to back off late in the round.
Rios managed to see out round 8, despite being hurt late in the round, but continued to take punishment from the right hand of Akhamadliev through round 9. In round 10 Rios pressed more intensely, and it was one of his better rounds, but he continued to struggle to consistent leather as Akhmadaliev's footwork and educated right hand limited the challenger's success overall.
Rios had some of his best moments in round 10, but he failed to build on that in round 11 as Akhmadaliev consistently landed his right hand through the 11th round and even had Rios backing up at times.
With Akhmadaliev clearly up, and fighting injured, it seemed like the bout would be going the distance as we headed into the final round. Akhmadaliev however fought like a man with other intentions and came out in round 12 looking for a finish. He dropped Rios with just over a minute left, Rios beat the count but was under immediate pressure when the fight resumed with Akhmadaliev finishing off Rios as the referee stepped in to save the challenger.
Sadly the hand injury will likely keep Akhmadaliev out of the ring for a while, and after that he is likely going to be forced to face mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales before talks of a divisional super fight with Stephen Fulton can be realised. Sadly that makes it seem likely we won't get that massive undisputed title bout until 2023. As for Rios he showed his toughness, but in the end he was very much second best through out the bout.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.