By: Sean Crose
“When you fight at home, defending what belongs to you, that’s probably the most important fight,” says WBA Super and IBF World Super-Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev of fighting in his homeland. “To give a good fight under the bright lights, that’s what I’m looking forward to. It’s a dream for any fighter to perform at home.” The undefeated 8-0 Uzbekistani fighter will be defending his titles against Ryosuke Iwasa at the Humo Arena in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Saturday in a match that will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. The 27-3 Iwasa is looking to regain the IBF belt he lost to TJ Doheny in 2018 while also picking up the WBA strap.
Askmadaliev, who won his belts against Daniel Roman early in 2020, indicates that his homecoming bout won’t be a soft touch. “Ryosuke Iwasa is a warrior,” Askmadaliev says, “he’s been in the ring with the very best. I rate him very highly and believe he is a very dangerous fighter.” Askmadaliev adds that he’s been doing his homework in the leadup to the fight. “I have studied him and am ready for him as always,” he says. “My team have done the work and I will do the work in the ring. I’m not going to give up anything to anybody.”
“He is trying to get what is mine,” Askmadaliev continues, “but that’s not going to happen. Boxing is not always easy, just like life. It’s pretty much always hard, you have to have tough fights in the ring and in life.” The defending champion also says that, even though he’s taking Iwasa seriously, he has dreams for the future. “You have to endure tough times and that’s how it’s been in my life,” says Askmadaliev. “I’m prepared for any challenge because of that. I am only focused on Iwasa, but as a champion my dream is to win every belt.”
In an era where many fighters seem to take a low risk attitude toward the sport of boxing, Askmadaliev wants to make it clear he’s game for a challenge. “If everything goes well tomorrow night,” he says, “I will not avoid anybody, I want all the belts. I’m blessed to be a World Champion, now defending my belts at home is the next goal for me.” Most of all, however, the 26 year old wants to put on a good show in his homeland this weekend. “I’m looking forward to showcasing myself which is important to my countrymen, family and friends,” he says, “I look forward to bringing the attention of the boxing world to Uzbekistan.”