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Will Naoya Inoue fight Murodjon Akhmadaliev?


The upside of becoming the undisputed champion in any weight class is that you make boxing history and likely stamp your ticket to the Hall of Fame. The downside is that you have a plethora of mandatory challengers that you must accommodate, which is the position that super bantamweight king Naoya Inoue finds himself in right now. 

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Inoue (27-0, 24 KOs) is coming off a stunning sixth-round stoppage over WBC mandatory challenger Luis Nery in May. The Japanese star was decked for the first time in his career in the opening round but got off the canvas to score three knockdowns, the last of which rendered the hard-hitting Mexican lefty unconscious.

On Friday, just 38 days on from Inoue feasting on Nery, the WBA ordered him to face their mandatory challenger, Murodjon Akhmadaliev. The two sides have until July 14 to reach an agreement or the bout will go to purse bids.

The Sporting News takes a deep dive into the fighter who will potentially face Inoue next.

Akhmadaliev was supposed to fight Inoue last year but was relieved of his unified super bantamweight crown by Marlon Tapales, who then fell victim to The Monster in December.

Given that Inoue is the biggest money option available in this weight class, “MJ” would be more than happy to accept the assignment. Since the Tapales setback, the Uzbekistan star has bounced back with a convincing stoppage win over Kevin Gonzalez and he’s still full of ambition.

The 29-year-old Akhmadaliev was an amateur standout, capturing silver at the 2015 World Championships and bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Signature wins have come against Daniel Roman, Ryosuke Iwasa and Ronny Rios.

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