By: Sean Crose
Murodjon Akhmadaliev put his WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles on the line against Ronny Rios in a scheduled 12 rounder at the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio on Saturday. The 10-0 Akhmadaliev and the 33-3 Rios essentially felt each other out in the first. The second round saw each man fight smartly, thought it was Rios who was pushing the action, albeit carefully. Both men threw freely in the third, though it looked as if Akhmadaliev was starting to take control.
The defending champion flicked out his southpaw jab in the fourth to good effect. Akhmadaliev appeared to be in the driver’s seat in the fifth, moving fluidly and landing at will. Akhmadaliev ‘s cracking jab continued to dominate in the sixth. Rios began absorbing thunderous uppercuts in the seventh. Rios threw hard in the eighth, but it wasn’t the challenger who landed the heavier shots.
Both men fought hard in an intriguing ninth. Rios was determined, game and skilled in the tenth, as he had been for all of the fight. It seemed, though, as if he were simply and ultimately being outclassed by Akhmadaliev. The champion’s heavy shots appeared to be having an impact on Rios in the eleventh. By the twelfth Rios found himself beaten up and on the mat. He got up, but the referee stopped the fight seconds later, as Rios was simply taking too much damage.