Earlier today Teiken reported that the planned IBF Super Featherweight title out between Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов] and Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] was now dead in the water, and that instead of that bout we'll be seeing Ogawa take on South African fighter Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9) for the vacant IBF title in the near future.
No explicit reason was given for why Rakhimov was out, though he was forced to pull out of a scheduled date with Ogawa in August due to injury, and it appears plans to reschedule to bout for October have now fallen through as well. So there's a genuine chance that Rakhimov's injury is worse than first expected.
Interestingly these three men have circled around each other for a while now. Originally we were supposed to see Ogawa and Fuzile face off in an IBF world title eliminator in 2019, which was cancelled when Ogawa decided to take a different route to a potential world title fight. That lead to Fuzile facing Rakhimov, with Rakhimov stopping the South Africa. We've now seen Rakhimov seemingly pull out of facing Ogawa leaving us with Fuzile and Ogawa now looking set to face off for the title, rather than the eliminator they were supposed to have.
Although Teiken have announced that it will be Ogawa Vs Fuzile, they didn't report a venue or a date for the bout, just that this was now the bout in the world for Ogawa.
Earlier today Dan Rafael broke the news that a deal has been done for the IBF Super Featherweight title bout between Tajik fighter Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов] and Japan's Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一], with the two men agreeing to face off in July in Dubai for the vacant title. (Dan's piece on this on Boxing Scene can be read here)
The title became vacant back in February, when defending champion Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1-1, 15) failed to make weight for a mandatory title defense against Rakhimov. Despite Diaz missing weight for the bout the contest went ahead and resulted in a 12 round draw, which left the title vacant. As a result of the vacancy the IBF ordered the teams or Rakhimov and Ogawa to negotiate a bout for the vacant title, which is exactly what they've done.
The bout is now set to take place on either July 10th or July 17th in Dubai, meaning neutral turf for both men.
For Rakhimov this will be his second crack at a world title, following the bout with Diaz in February. Notably Rakhimov got his shot at Diaz after winning his first 15 bouts. The most notable of those was a controversial victory in 2019 against Azinga Fuzile in South Africa, in what was a final eliminator. That win saw Rakhimov become the mandatory, but he had to wait over a year for his show as legal issues between Diaz and former champion Tevin Farmer, as well as Covid19, proved to be stumbling blocks. This upcoming bout will be his second shot at the title, and his third successive fight out of Russia, which has been his boxing home since his 2015 debut. Aged 26 Rakhimov is coming into his physical prime, but it does feel very much like he is still improving with every fight, and his performance against Diaz was the best of his career, so far.
This will also be Ogawa's second shot at a world title, following his own controversy. He fought Tevin Farmer for the then vacant title in 2017, winning a split decision in Las Vegas before being stripped of the belt due to a failed drug test, which his team put down to a skin cream. The failed drug nullified the win over Farmer and saw Ogawa have 12 month suspension from the JBC. He returned to the ring in 2019 and has gone 3-0-1 since then, including a technical decision draw with Joe Noynay and a decision win over Kazuhiro Nishitani back in October, in a bit of an over-looked thriller. Aged 33 this is likely to be his final shot at a world title, and the bout is, essentially, a must win for him.
Yesterday Russian fans had the chance to see Russian based Tajik prospect Shavkat Rakhimov (5-0, 3) extend his perfect start as he defeated experienced Russian Alexander Saltykov (10-33-5, 5).
The 21 year old fighter debuted in December last year and has maintained a busy scheduled, which has included a win over the then 9-0 Mirzhan Zhaksylykov back in February. Although he was given a very good test by Zhaksylykov he wasn't really tested yesterday with Rakhimov scoring a 2nd round TKO win over Saltykov, who suffered the 24th stoppage defeat of his career.
Given his activity so far we're expecting to see Rakhimov back in the ring soon, and hopefully that will be a more testing fight than this one, given that the youngster was a genuine amateur standout and competed at the Olympics and the AIBA World Boxing Championships.
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