By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Filipino boxing star Marlon Tapales just recorded the biggest victory of his professional boxing career after stunning Murudjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan via a split decision to snatch the WBA-IBF super bantamweight titles last April 9, 2023.
Heading into the fight as the major underdog, the laser-focused Tapales pulled off a convincing upset that was enough to earn the nod of the two judges while the other one voted for the Uzbekistani.
Tapales started slow in the first half of the match and seemed to have difficulty in cutting the distance to hurt Akhmadaliev but once the sixth round began, everything worked like magic for the Filipino and his camp.
To neutralize the Uzbekistani’s power and unpredictable angles to throw his left hooks, Tapales decided to hound him and apply pressure during the last six rounds of the championship fight.
Tapales’ consistent offensive pressure disabled Akhmadaliev’s offensive rhythm and kept him guessing all the time whether the Filipino will throw his signature double-jab left straight combination or stick with is in-and-outs.
It was in the 10th round that the Filipino started to pull away in the scorecards after hitting the Uzbekistani champion at will with his quick jabs to the head and the midsection.
Despite the volume of punches he threw after the 10th round, Tapales continued to ramp up the intensity in the last two rounds. Although Akhmadaliev was able to hit him with a couple of left straights, the Filipino still held his ground and continued his daunting pressure to go home as the new super bantamweight king.
Aside from dethroning the Uzbekistani slugger, Tapales also made history after becoming the first fighter to taint his undefeated record.
With the win, Tapales improved his professional record to 37 wins, 19 knockouts, and three defeats while Akhmadaliev fell to 11 wins and one loss.