Matchroom Boxing has secured the rights to a title eliminator where the winner could potentially challenge for the undisputed crown.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the Murodjon ‘MJ’ Akhmadaliev-Kevin Gonzalez WBA 122-pound title elimination bout will land on a Matchroom-promoted show in December, assuming the fight moves forward. The global promotional outlet submitted $120,000 during Monday’s hearing to gain promotional control of the previously ordered contest. Akhmadaliev and Gonzalez are each guaranteed $60,000 from the winning amount.
With the bid were proposed fight dates of December 9 in San Francisco, California; December 16 in Glendale, Arizona; and December 23 in Abu Dhabi. Matchroom has already confirmed the Regis Prograis-Devin Haney WBC junior welterweight title fight atop a December 9 DAZN Pay-Per-View. The December 16 show in Arizona will house the Sunny Edwards-Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez IBF/WBO flyweight title unification bout.
Promoter Eddie Hearn previously confirmed to Boxing Scene and other outlets of plans to revisit the Conor Benn-Chris Eubank Jr. second-generation clash for a held December 23 date in Abu Dhabi.
The fight was ordered in September but talks predictably never evolved beyond early contact from the sanctioning body. Akhmadaliev (11-1, 8KOs) is co-promoted by World of Boxing and Matchroom Boxing and managed by Vadim Kornilov. Gonzalez (26-0-1, 13KOs) is signed to Juan Orengo’s Fresh Productions and generally fights these days on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)-branded events.
Marlon Tapales currently holds the WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles, which he won in a twelve-round, split decision over Uzbekistan’s Akhmadaliev on April 8 in San Antonio, Texas. The 31-year-old Filipino southpaw is currently in advanced talks to face WBC/WBO titlist Naoya Inoue (25-0, 22KOs) for an undisputed championship clash eyed for December in Tokyo.
It will mean any mandatory in the division will have a chance to challenge for all four belts, should the Inoue-Tapales victor choose to remain at the weight.
Akhmadaliev has not fought since his disputed defeat to Tapales. The 28-year-old Uzbek southpaw—who claimed a Bronze medal during the 2016 Rio Olympics—won the unified WBA/IBF crown in a January 2020 split decision win over Danny Roman. Just three successful defenses came of a reign crippled by injuries and Covid-related illness even after the sport rebounded from the pandemic.
Gonzalez has yet to fight for a title or in a sanctioned eliminator. The 25-year-old Culiacan native has fought in scheduled ten-round bouts for each of his last five starts. In his most recent win, Gonzalez soundly outpointed veteran trialhorse Jose Sanmartin over ten rounds in a March 25 bout on the David Benavidez-Caleb Plant undercard at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox