UPDATE: Akhmadaliev gets the TKO victory in the 12th round as Rios couldn’t quite get to the distance.
The junior featherweight division is getting closer to a full unification bout, but there is business to deal with before that can happen. Murodjon Akhmadaliev puts his IBF and WBA on the line Saturday night when he faces Ronny Rios on Saturday night in San Antonio. The fight airs on DAZN as part of a card that gets started at 8 p.m. ET.
Akhmadaliev is only 10-0 but has quickly climbed the ranks of the division and is pushing toward an eventual unification bout with WBC and WBO champ Stephen Fulton. In the meantime, he is a -900 favorite against Rios at DraftKings Sportsbook. Rios is 33-3 and getting his second crack at a major junior featherweight title. Akhmadaliev by stoppage is the favored outcome at -160 followed by Akhmadaliev by decision at +200. Rios by decision is +800 and by stoppage is +1200.
We’ll be providing round-by-round scoring below for Akhmadaliev-Rios until a winner is determined.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs. Ronny Rios round-by-round results
Round 1: Akhmadaliev 10-9
Akhmadaliev is starting to set up a jab and popped Rios backing him off. Rios tries out some jabs and body shots without much luck. Each fighter is locked in and trying to work off their jabs. Rios is struggling to land clean shots, but he is keeping Akhmadaliev at bay and not letting him get in close. Akhmadaliev lands a left and Rios misses a big right at the end of the round.
Round 2: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 20-18
Rios comes out looking to be on the offensive but continues to not land clean. He finally gets a good hook in but misses the right in the combo. Akhmadaliev is able to land a counter and another right hook. Rios seems to be landing more punches, but they just don’t seem effective. Akhmadaliev picked his shots this round and landed cleaner.
Round 3: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 30-27
Akhmadaliev attempts the first shot of the round but misses as does Rios on the counter. Neither fighter looks like they want to get in close from the jabs each is throwing. Rios throws some hooks right into the guard of Akhmadaliev. He lands a clean hook, but Akhmadaliev lands a clean left. He is moving around more while Rios is pivoting. Rios is trying to set up the jab and begins trying to work the body. This is probably the closest round so far, but I still think Akhmadaliev is up.
Round 4: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 40-36
Rios is doing a better job of blocking to start and connects with a left to the body. Akhmadaliev connects on a left and it shakes Rios. Akhmadaliev is trying to capitalize and follows it up with a flurry of shots as Rios is trying to back away. Rios is not guarding his head as much and looks like he is favoring the body. Rios does recover slightly and lands a right, but Akhmadaliev answers strongly. Rios avoided going down to the mat, but he loses the round.
Round 5: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 50-45
Akhmadaliev comes out trying to pick up the pace. He is looking to counter whenever Rios breaks his guard. He does connect on a few jabs. Akhmadaliev is trying to land another body shot to see how much it is bothering Rios. It is Rios that is able to land a right to the body. Rios isn’t throwing as many punches because he is focused on guarding. Akhmadaliev lands a left hook, but there it is questioned as a low blow.
Round 6: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 60-54
This is an important round because the trainer for Akhmadaliev said it wouldn’t go past the sixth round. Anytime that Rios is able to land a shot, Akhmadaliev is ready to counter and his shots seem more effective. Rios gets a straight right hand to the body in. Rios is only landing 17% of his shots through five rounds compared to 32% for Akhmadaliev. Rios hits another jab, but again Akhmadaliev counters right after. Rios gets him into a corner and lands a body shot.
Round 7: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 70-63
Rios is able to capitalize with a good right counter off a missed Akhmadaliev jab. Akhmadaliev then lands a series of uppercuts but Rios lands a jab clean. There is word from commentators that Akhmadaliev may have injured his left hand in the sixth round. Akhmadaliev does seem to be favoring his right hand.
Round 8: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 80-72
Akhmadaliev starts landing some power rooks with the right hands. Akhmadaliev doesn’t use his left hand as much other than to block. He is starting to reign in a lot of right hooks and jabs and there is power behind these shots. Rios seems to have the advantage with how Akhmadaliev has changed up his fight style, but Akhmadaliev’s right hooks are too much for him to overcome this round.
Round 9: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 90-81
Rios seems to be more aggressive to start the round which is what his coach wanted him to do. He is bringing the pressure with some lefts and a right. Akhmadaliev answers with a heavy right even though it lands in Rios’ guard. Rios goes for the body and misses, but is doing a better job not giving up the ring. Akhmadaliev still flashes the left but he is predominantly fighting with just his right hand at this point. Rios lands two good jabs back-to-back. Akhmadaliev tries for an uppercut with the left as the round ends.
Round 10: Rios 10-9, 91-99
Rios lands a major right hook as the round begins. He is on the offensive and connects with two more solid shots. The message from his corner seems to have finally sunk in and he is being the aggressor. Rios lands another strong hook as Akhmadaliev dances around. Rios slips and it is not ruled a knockdown as he hits the mat. He hits a body shot and it’s clear he knows he needs a knockout to win. Rios hits another combo while Akhmadaliev sneaks in a jab. Akhmadaliev goes to the body, but Rios takes this one in my book.
Round 11: Akhmadaliev 10-9, 109-100
Each fighter lands some strong shots and they are countering well. Rios needs to work the body or do something because at the minute it is too little too late. Rios counters with an uppercut after Akhmadaliev misses one of his own. Akhmadaliev lands some strong jabs to the left of Rios’ head. Rios needed a strong round, but he didn’t build on his effort in the 10th and lost this one.
Round 12: Akhmadaliev TKO-12
Kudos to Akhmadaliev because he has this one in the bag if it goes the distance, but he is gunning for that knockout. He throws a ton of punches as the right starts to the head and body, with the left and the right. Rios is all defensive right now and is trying to not go down. Rios does sneak in a jab. Akhmadaliev lands a big body blow and down goes Rios. Akhmadaliev smells blood in the water and is all offensive. Rios is just trying to get to the bell. The ref waves it off and this one is over with a minute to go in the fight.