Miami (AFP) – Unbeaten Murodjon Akhmadaliev won his first title in just his eighth career fight with a split decision victory over Daniel Roman on Thursday to capture Roman’s WBA and IBF junior featherweight belts.
Akhmadaliev won 115-113 on two scorecards, and Roman won 115-113 on the third in front of the crowd at the Meridian at Island Gardens facility in Miami.
Akhmadaliev, who won a bronze medal for Uzbekistan in the 2016 Olympics, improved to 8-0 with six knockouts.
He equalled former heavyweight Leon Spinks’ record of being a unified belt holder in just his eighth fight. He is also the first from his country to be a unified champ.
Roman dropped to 27-3-1 with 10 knockouts as the American was coming off the longest layoff of his pro career due to an injury.
Roman was making the fifth defence of his 122-pound title and fighting for the first time since beating TJ Doheny by majority decision to unify two titles.
In another bout, Joseph Diaz battled through a nasty cut over his left eye to win an IBF junior lightweight world title by upsetting champion Tevin Farmer.
Diaz, in his third shot at a world title, won 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 to take Farmer’s 130-pound belt.
In the final fight of the evening, Demetrius Andrade retained his middleweight title with ninth round TKO of heavy underdog Luke Keeler.
Andrade easily won the lacklustre fight, improving to 29-0. He has not lost since the 2008 Olympics.
In a novelty bout, social media influencer Jake Paul won his first “professional” fight with a first-round technical knockout of fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib.
AnEsonGib had trouble staying on his feet. When he wasn’t getting knocked down three times from soft punches he was losing his balance and falling over because of an awkward crouching stance.