By Alexey Sukachev
According to local reports, confirmed by the sources in Mexico and the USA, undefeated Russian light welterweight Denis Shafikov (30-0-1, 17 KOs) will make his debut on American soil on December 14 at the yet-to-be-defined venue in California. IBF #13 Shafikov takes on IBF #7 Ghanaian Albert Mensah (25-3-1, 10 KOs) for the #2 spot in the IBF ranks. The fight has been already sanctioned as a semi-eliminator by the International Boxing Federation.
Shafikov, 27, is a reigning European champion with a streak of sound victories in the last two years. He was earlier promoted by the Finland-based P3 Boxing but is now being guided by the Ural Boxing Promotions. Shafikov is presently in Guadalajara, Mexico, getting prepared for his move overseas by Eddie "Chepo" Reynoso, a trainer of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Shafikov is a slick and tricky southpaw stylist, who can work both as a technician and as a slugger, depending on the opponent.
Mensah, 29, was an unknown figure in boxing for years, he has been fighting through in his native land. He suffered all his three losses and a draw also in Ghana. In 2011 Mensah re-located himself to Joilet, Illinois, and kicked off his United States career with a close win over Andre Gorges. He followed it up in April 2012 with another majority draw - this time over famed Australian Michael Katsidis - in the biggest victory of his career.