Akhmadaliev vs. Iwasa – preview & predictions for DAZN this Saturday
By Matt Lieberman: Murodjon Akhmadaliev is making his first defense of his IBF and WBA super bantamweight titles this Saturday, April 3rd, on DAZN against former IBF 122-lb champion Ryosuke Iwasa at the Humo Arena in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Akhmadaliev is making a voluntary defense against #9 WBA Iwasa, which tells you what this fight is all about. There were numerous tougher challengers out there forAkhmadaliev to defend against, most notably Daniel Roman, but he opted for fringe contender Iwasa.
The 5’5 1/2″Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) will be giving up two inches in height and three inches in reach to the 5’7 1/2: Iwasa (27-3, 17 KOs), but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Iwasa was a world champion after beating IBF super bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni by a sixth-round knockout in September 2017.
Akhmadaliev will make this a war of attrition against Iwasa on Saturday, just as he did in his last fight a year ago against Daniel Roman.
This is a winnable fight for Iwasa, but he’s going to have to take the battle to Akhmadaliev for the entire 12 rounds because he’ll steal rounds with his in and out attacking style.
Akhmadaliev likes to jump in and land big shots and then move away quickly. We saw him do that against Roman all night, getting the better of him with that style.
Iwasa has bounced back from a loss to Doheny
Unfortunately, Iwasa’s title reign was brief, with him losing in August 2018 in a 12 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of TJ Doheny.
It wasn’t a big shocker that Iwasa was beaten by Doheny, though, as he’d lost to Lee Haskins in 2015 and Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2011.
Iwasa is a good fighter, but he’s never shown the type of staying power that suggests that he could hold onto his IBF title for any length of time. If it weren’t Doheny that beat Iwasa, Daniel Roman likely would have been the guy to dethrone him.
Since losing to Doheny in 2018, Iwasa has come back to win his last two fights, beating Marlos Tapales and Cesar Juarez.
With that said, neither of those fighters are anywhere close to the talent level of Akhmadaliev or any of the top-level fighters in the super bantamweight division.
Those were confidence boosters for Iwasa to help him rebuild mentally after the loss to Doheny, but it’s going to take more than that for him to deal with Akhmadaliev on Saturday night.
Akhmadaliev, 26, is considerably younger than the 31-year-old, and he has the Olympic pedigree going for him.
“Ryosuke Iwasa is a warrior; he’s been in the ring with the very best. I rate him very highly and believe he is a very dangerous fighter,” said Akhmadaliev.
“I have studied him and am ready for him as always. My team has done the work, and I will do the work in the ring. I’m not going to give up anything to anybody.”
Where to watch Akhmadaliev vs. Iwasa
IBF/WBA 122-lb champion Akhmadaliev vs. Isawa can be seen on DAZN starting at 10:00 a.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT this Saturday, April 3rd. The fight takes place at the Humo Arena, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Boxing News 24 will be giving live updates on the Akhmadaliev-Iwasa fight along with the undercard right here.
The unbeaten 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) makes his first defense of his IBW & WBA titles he won last year in January 2020, beating champion Daniel Roman by a 12 round split decision.
The only way Iwasa can win this fight is by applying constant pressure on Akhmadaliev for the duration of the constant without let up. Daniel Roman did well at times against Akhmadaliev when he was putting heat on him, but he wasn’t consistent enough.
The advantage Iwasa has is he and his team have had time to study the Akhmadaliev vs. Roman fight to find holes in Murodjon’s game.
Akhmadaliev – Iwasa prediction
Iwasa will fail to use his size to his advantage against the shorter Akhmadaliev, and he’ll end up absorbing a lot of punishment during the course of this fight. Prediction: Akhmadaliev stops Iwasa in seven.
Lee Haskins, who was never a great fighter, wore Iwasa down and knocked him out in six rounds in 2015. There’s been no improvement in Iwasa’s game since.
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