WBA orders Naoya Inoue to face Murodjon Akhmadaliev by September 25

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Naoya Inoue’s planned September return will see him face arguably his best remaining foe at 122, as the WBA has ordered him to meet former unified champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev by September 25th.

The pair have until July 14th to come to terms and avoid a purse bid.

Most expected Inoue (27-0, 24 KO) to face IBF mandatory Sam Goodman his next time out, as the pair confronted each other in the ring after “The Monster’s” vicious knockout of Luis Nery last month. Goodman instead set up a July 10th fight with unheralded contender Chainoi Worawut with the expectation that he’ll fight Inoue on one of Japan’s traditional year-end shows, leaving the undisputed champ without a dance partner.

Enter Akhmadaliev (12-1, 9 KO), who vied with Stephen Fulton for the title of top super bantamweight before suffering a shock upset loss to Marlon Tapales last year. His return to action eight months later proved a return to form when he dismantled undefeated Kevin Gonzalez on the Bam Rodriguez vs. Sunny Edwards undercard.

Akhmadaliev is far and away the most unique super bantamweight elite that Inoue has yet to mulch. We’ll see whether Top Rank and Matchroom can hash things out over the next 30 days.

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