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Murodjon Akhmadaliev Ordered To Face Kevin Gonzalez For Title Opportunity

Murodjon Akhmadaliev To Face Kevin Gonzalez For Title Opportunity featured image
MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 19: Murodjon Akhmadaliev reacts after defeating Jose Velasquez during the IBF, WBA junior featherweight titles bout at SNHU Arena on November 19, 2021 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Former WBA & IBF super bantamweight world champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev will be facing Mexican contender Kevin Gonzalez in a WBA eliminator. The winner will be designated as the future world title challenger to the current holder of the WBA title, Marlon Tapales, though circumstances can change if Tapales ends up fighting WBC & WBO champion Naoya Inoue in an undisputed title match.

Murdjon Akhmadaliev (11-1, 8 KO’s), 28, lost his two world titles to Marlon Tapales in April of this year after losing by a narrow split-decision. Now, he receives the opportunity to face fellow super bantamweight contender Kevin Gonzalez (26-0-1, 13 KO’s) following the WBA’s mandate.

Kevin Gonzalez, 25, is unbeaten but has yet to extent his list of opponents to those outside of other South American/Middle American nations, but has built up a decent resume the last couple of years after a disappointing period from 2016 [his debut year] to 2020 when he fought mostly lower-tier opposition.

Without a doubt, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, a former world champion, will be the best fighter Gonzalez has faced so far. Though the Uzbekistani fighter is currently ranked at #2 on the WBA’s ranking boards for the featherweight division, #1-rated Tomoki Kameda (40-3, 22 KO’s) has made a leap up the division to fight at featherweight and will soon be removed from the rankings.

With Kevin Gonzalez ranked as the #3 on the WBA’s ranking boards, a match between him and Akhmadaliev will set the stage for a battle between the highest-rated contenders.

There will first be a negotiation period as customary in a mandate, which will be followed by purse bids if the negotiations fail to reach a resolution. The winner between Akhmadaliev and Gonzalez will become the WBA mandatory  challenger of the super bantamweight division.

If current WBA & IBF champion Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KO’s) does indeed fight Naoya Inoue (25-0, 22 KO’s), the winner will then likely face the winner of the ordered bout between Akhmadaliev and Gonzalez, though this is subject to change depending on the availability/presence of any other mandatory challenger designated by the rest of the sanctioning bodies.

If an undisputed match between Tapales and Inoue does occur, the winner of this WBA eliminator will potentially gain the opportunity to fight for all four available world titles, therefore increasing the stakes of this eliminator if a fight actually materializes.