Madrimov vs Kurbanov WBA title fight set for Mar. 8 in Riyadh

Madrimov vs Kurbanov WBA title fight set for Mar. 8 in Riyadh

Super welterweight contenders Israil Madrimov and Magomed Kurbanov agreed to square off in a WBA title fight early last month, and seven weeks later, we have a date and location. Jalol Akhmedov reports that the pair will meet on March 8th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as part of Matchroom’s Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou show.

Per Jake Donovan, the “bout’s placement is pending final approval from the Saudis.” The card also notably features Zhilei Zhang vs Joseph Parker and Rey Vargas vs Nick Ball.

There are two noteworthy takeaways from this announcement. The first is the location; Kurbanov’s (25-0, 13 KO) success in major fights came as much from Russian judging as it did his own skills, as the vast majority of viewers had him losing to both Liam Smith and Michel Soro. Barring some truly impressive geopolitical maneuvering, he’s on his own against his toughest foe to date in Madrimov (9-0-1, 6 KO).

The other is the belt at stake. Both BoxRec and Akhmedov’s post imply it’ll be the secondary “world” title, which hasn’t seen action since Erislandy Lara ditched it following 2020’s decision over Greg Vendetti. The “super” belt is the last piece of hardware in former unified champion Jermell Charlo’s closet, but he’s never defended it against a mandatory since taking it from Jeison Rosario in 2020 and doesn’t seem keen on ever doing so, so it’s unclear how this will play out.

I will say that to the WBA’s credit that they’ve been a lot more gunshy with secondary titles of late unless legally obligated to toss one out.

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