In the co-main event, Murodjon “MJ” Ahkmadaliev of Uzbekistan (5-0, 4 KOs) defeated a determined Issac Zarate of San Pedro, California (16-4-3, 2 KOs) by ninth round TKO, retaining his WBA Intercontinental Super Bantamweight Title.
A decorated amateur and Olympic bronze medal winners now being trained by Joel Diaz, Ahkmadaliev delivers impressive combinations of power punches. He made Zarate eat hard shots to the head and the body round after round from all directions. But Zarate didn’t wobble and kept coming, forcing Ahkmadaliev to keep coming and work hard for the win.
The accumulated punishment from Ahkmadaliev finally convinced referee Eric Dali to step in and stop the fight at 1:17 of the ninth round. Zarate remained on his feet, but was in no position to win and didn’t argue the good call.
“It went almost exactly as we thought it would go,” said Ahkmadaliev. “(Zarate) is a crafty and durable fighter and has a lot of experience. I knew I was to going to go in there and knock him out.
“The game plan was to go to the body and wear him down. I knew I was going to take a lot of punches while doing that and to get the job done. I learned a lot of lessons from Zarate. Now, I only want to fight for belts in the future,” said Ahkmadaliev.