LAS VEGAS – Bakhram Murtazaliev saved himself in place Saturday to struggle the winner of the Jermell Charlo-Tim Tszyu 154-pound title struggle.

The unbeaten Russian contender, who’s the necessary challenger for Charlo’s IBF junior middleweight title, beat Roberto Valenzuela Jr. by unanimous determination within the eight-round opening bout on the Frank Martin-Michel Rivera undercard at The Chelsea, a venue inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. All three judges scored Murtazaliev a shutout winner over Valenzuela, 80-72.

Murtazaliev comfortably boxed nicely off his again foot and crisply countered an aggressive Valenzuela for a lot of their eight-round, 154-pound bout. When Mexico’s Valenzuela landed, Murtazaliev took these pictures nicely and caught to his sport plan.

Valenzuela (20-4, 19 KOs) has misplaced two of his previous three bouts, each by unanimous determination.

Murtazaliev (21-0, 15 KOs), who’s promoted by Important Occasions, fought for the fourth time on a Premier Boxing Champions undercard since he grew to become the necessary challenger for the IBF junior middleweight title in March 2020.

He has accepted sizeable purses and slots on PBC undercards to permit Jeison Rosario, who owned the IBF belt when Murtazaliev was named the IBF’s necessary challenger, to struggle Charlo in September 2020 and Charlo to struggle Brian Castano twice in two extra title unification fights in July 2021 and this previous Might 14. Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) is the WBO’s necessary challenger for one more of Charlo’s championships.

Valenzuela clearly wanted a knockout getting into the eighth and last spherical, however he couldn’t damage Murtazaliev in these last three minutes.

Murtazaliev drilled Valenzuela with a counter left hook that made him reset his ft within the last minute of their bout.

Murtazaliev shocked Valenzuela with a straight proper within the opening minute of the seventh spherical. One other flush proper hand by Murtazaliev later within the seventh spherical made Valenzuela maintain him tightly.

A left uppercut by Murtazaliev landed as Valenzuela got here ahead within the center minute of the sixth spherical. Murtazaliev nailed Valenzuela with two proper fingers within the first minute of the sixth spherical that moved Valenzuela backward.

Valenzuela tried to tough up Murtazaliev throughout the fifth spherical and landed a number of proper fingers within the first half of that spherical. Valenzuela additionally caught Murtazaliev with a flush proper hand as Murtazaliev backed into Valenzuela’s nook simply earlier than the bell sounded to finish the fifth spherical.

Murtazaliev’s brief left hook on the within backed up Valenzuela within the center minute of the fourth spherical. Valenzuela pressed ahead, however Murtazaliev continued to counter him successfully.

Murtazaliev linked with a number of proper fingers from varied distances within the last 30 seconds of the third spherical. A counter left hook by Valenzeula knocked Murtazaliev off stability within the opening minute of the third spherical.

Murtazaliev cracked Valenzuela with a left hook a couple of seconds earlier than the bell sounded to finish the second spherical. Murtazaliev and Valenzuela exchanged exhausting proper fingers on the within within the opening minute of the second spherical.

An aggressive Murtazaliev landed a left hook up prime after which a straight proper hand that moved Valenzuela backward throughout the last minute of the primary spherical. Murtazaliev landed back-to-back proper fingers within the center minute of the primary spherical.

Keith Idec is a senior author/columnist for He may be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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