Earlier today RCC released the poster for the planned 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], and in doing so revealed that the bout, which was originally scheduled for July, has been pushed back to August 20th.
The bout will see the two men battling for the title which was stripped from Joseph Diaz back in February, when he failed to make weight for a bout with Rakhimov. The bout went ahead regardless, resulting in a draw, and left the IBF to order this fight.
It's the second chance for both men to win this specific title.
Rakhimov, as mentioned, fought to a draw with Diaz for the title earlier this year, in what was a genuinely solid fight aired live on DAZN. Ogawa got even closer, and actually was recognised as the champion for a little whilse, after beating Tevin Farmer in 2017. He would however fail a drug test, thought to be linked to a skin cream, and was stripped of the title, wih the win becoming a no contest.
Interestingly we not only know about this bout, but also who the winner will have to face, with South African fighter Azinga Fuzile waiting in the wings for the winner following his recent victory in a world title eliminator. Notably Fuzile has already fought Rakhimov, with the Tajik beating Fuzile by stoppage in South Africa before questions about the illegal use of smelling salts surfaced. A win for Rakhimov would set up that rematch.
Interesting the Rakhimov Vs Fuzile bout only actually came about when negotiations for a bout between Ogawa and Fuzile, which has it's self been ordered as an eliminator, fell apart. If Ogawa wins and sets up a defense against Fuzile it would be interesting to see history go full circle.
This bout is going to be taking place in Dubia, with MTK will be involved, along with Teiken and RCC and and it's expected, although yet to be confirmed, that IFLTV and ESPN+ will air the bout in the west.
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.
This past Saturday we saw American Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1-1, 15) become the former IBF Super Featherweight champion, following his failure to make weight on Friday and being stripped of his title on the scales, prior to facing mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов].
When the two men got in the following day they ended up fighting to a draw, in what was a really decent fight. As a result of the draw the title remained vacant.
Thankfully the IBF haven't wasted time in trying to resolve the situation and have now ordered Rakhimov to face Japanese Super Featherweight Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] for the vacant title.
The IBF have given Teiken, who promote Ogawa, and RCC Boxing Promotion, who promote Rakhimov, 30 days to negotiate. If no deal is reached within that time the bout will go to purse bids.
Interestingly the match between Rakhimov and Ogawa will be the second either man has to win this IBF title.
Ogawa got a shot back in 2017 when he out pointed Tevin Farmer for the vacant title, before the result was over-turned due to a positive drug test, which was put down to a skin cream Ogawa was using. As for Rakhimov his first shot was the one over the weekend against Diaz.
Later today in California we'll see the now former IBF Super Featherweight champion Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1, 15) take on unbeaten Tajik fighter Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов], who can still win the title that was stripped from Diaz following the American coming in well over the divisional limit.
Despite missing weight, by 3.6lbs, Diaz is still the betting favourite to win the bout, which would see the title remain vacant.
Diaz is best priced at 8/15 to win the bout whilst Rakhimov is regarded as a very under-dog at 7/4. The draw on the other hand is 20/1.
The "Method" of victory market for this one is really interesting. A decision for Diaz is regarded as the most likely outcome and is priced at 3/4, whilst a decision for the the unbeaten Tajik is best priced at 16/5. A win inside the distance, by TKO/KO or DQ for Rakhimov is 13/2 whilst a stoppage inside the schedule for Diaz is 9/1, and is the big outlier.
As for the length of bout this is expected to go long. The over/under with most British bookies for this one is 10.5 rounds, with the under priced at 4/1 and the over best priced at 1/4, with most pricing it at 1/6 or 1/7. Given those odds it'll come as little surprise to see that many are expecting this one to go the distance, and odds of 2/9 are available on the bout going 12 rounds, and 7/2 on the bout finishing early.
For fans wanting to watch this one, it will be shown live on DAZN
Related - Rakhimov takes on Diaz in IBF title fight (Preview)
Later today we'll see Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1, 15) battle against unbeaten Tajik fighter Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов], live on DAZN.
Originally the bout was scheduled to be an IBF Super Featherweight title defense for Diaz, however that changed last night at the weigh in, when the American was stripped of the title for coming in well over the 130lb limit, however the title is still on the line for Rakhimov.
On the scales Diaz was 133.6lbs, well over the limit and closer to the Lightweight limit than the Super Featherweight limit. Sadly this isn't the first time Diaz has missed weight for an important bout, as he also missed weight for a 2018 bout with the then WBA Featherweight champion Jesus M Rojas, which he won comfortably. Given the fact he was more than 3lbs over the limit for this bout however, the feeling has to be that he never really tried to make the weight, and that is unprofessional to say the least.
Regardless of whether it was a mistake or not it has cost Diaz 20% of his purse, or $100,000, which will be spilt 50-50 with half of it going to the California State Athletic Commission and half of it going to Rakhimov, who will now get $150,000 for the bout. As well as seeing him stripped of the title that he won in 2020.
As for Rakhimov the Tajik challenger hit the scales at 129.8lbs, comfortably under the Super Featherweight limit. He can still win the title, though is obviously at a disadvantage against a bigger, heavier man who hasn't gone through the same battle of making weight for the bout.
This has again raised the question of what can be done to discourage missing weight, and we again would like to mention that in the Philippines fighters who miss weight are often made to wear heavier gloves as a punishment. This has been seen to act as an in fight punishment, taking some power from the shots of the offending fighter, as well as slowing their punches down and affecting their stamina. It's an idea that we would love to see being tried in bigger fights in the future.
Related - Rakhimov takes on Diaz in IBF title fight (Preview)
Photo: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / Golden Boy
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