“And the new!” was heard twice on the undercard of Matchroom Boxing’s special Super Bowl week show in Miami. Joseph “JoJo” Diaz realized his dream of being a world champion by unseating IBF super-featherweight titleholder Tevin Farmer, while Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev became the new unified super-bantamweight champion, taking the WBA and IBF titles away from Danny Roman.
Here’s how the fights played out.
JoJo Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs) def. Tevin Farmer (30-5-1-1, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) - IBF super-featherweight champion
Diaz started brightly by aggressively attacking Farmer’s body, but an accidental clash of heads in round two opened up a bad cut above Diaz’s left eye. There was some concern that it would end the fight within four rounds and become a no contest, but Diaz was able to battle through it thanks to his excellent cut man. For the most part, Diaz was outboxing Farmer and was clearly the busier of the two. Farmer targeted Diaz’s cut as expected, but Diaz did well to mix his attack throughout the contest.
Farmer was noticeably blinking a lot with his eyes and he did indicate he had hurt his right hand after the opening round. With all of that said, Diaz was outclassing him and he hurt Farmer with an overhand right in the tenth. Farmer lacked a sense of urgency and was missing badly when he did throw a lot of his punches. Add in his lack of knockout power and Diaz had the fight wrapped up by the championship rounds. Those 115-113 scorecards are certifiably nuts.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) def. Danny Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) by split decision (113-115, 115-113, 115-113) - Unified WBA/IBF super-bantamweight champion
This was a very competitive fight through the early rounds. Akhmadaliev started out well, throwing heavy power shots and being the aggressor, whereas Roman took a bit to get his offense going and time his counters sharply. Roman was finding success with body shots, one of the staples of his game. Round five was arguably a toss-up before a couple of big left hands by “MJ” had Roman shaken against the ropes, but time had expired. Roman was able to tag Akhmadaliev with body blows and uppercuts, but the Uzbek responded with his own body work and hard hooks upstairs. The speed advantage in Akhmadaliev’s corner was very noticeable, and it deterred Roman from working heavily on the inside as he’s accustomed to doing.
A high-level, technical boxing match turned into a slugfest at the end of the eighth round, with both men exchanging heavy leather. Roman’s shots landed more cleanly, but the thud of Akhmadaliev’s punches were more noticeable.
It looked as if Akhmadaliev was pulling away in the later rounds, firing off lightning-quick combinations and stunning Roman again with a huge left from his southpaw stance. Roman rallied back in the 12th and final frame, catching Akhmadaliev with a couple of uppercuts, then in the dying seconds they went toe-to-toe and had another furious flurry. A close fight with what looked to be the deserved winner, as Akhmadaliev becomes the second-fastest in boxing history (tied with Leon Spinks) to become a unified world champion. Danny’s reign at 122 lbs is over, and the betting favorite challengers gets it done.