Sources: Akhmadaliev, Tapales to fight this spring

Murodjon Akhmadaliev will defend his two 122-pound titles against Marlon Tapales after the sides struck a deal, sources told ESPN.

The unified junior featherweight championship bout is slated to take place in early spring, likely outside the U.S., sources said.

Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KOs) has made three defenses of the IBF and WBA titles he won from Danny Roman in 2020. The 28-year-old sustained a broken left hand in his last bout, a 12th-round TKO of Ronny Rios in June.

The Olympic bronze medalist from Uzbekistan has competed in all but one of his pro fights in the U.S. (Akhmadaliev returned home for a fifth-round TKO of Ryosuke Iwasa in 2021.)

Akhmadaliev, 28, is ESPN’s No. 2 boxer at 122 pounds after Stephen Fulton, who also holds two belts. However, Fulton is expected to move up to 126 pounds for his next bout while undisputed bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue will campaign at 122 going forward.

Tapales (36-3, 19 KOs) is a former 118-pound titleholder from the Philippines. The 30-year-old has scored three straight victories since he suffered an 11th-round TKO loss to Iwasa.

Tapales has won three straight fights since, all by stoppage.

BoxingScene first reported the deal.

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