Shafikov vs. Rakhimov in Play For March 16 in Noginsk

By Alexey Sukachev

A reliable source in Russian boxing community has confirmed to BoxingScene that a huge fight is pre-planned for March 16 in Noginsk, Russia, as the WBC #5 ranked lightweight Denis Shafikov (31-0-1, 17 KOs) collides with the WBO #6 ranked Uzbek Alisher Rakhimov (25-1, 12KOs) for the vacant WBC Baltic title.

Shafikov, 27, is a former EBU light welterweight champion, who had a strong year in 2012, stopping Lee McAllister (34-2) and convincingly decisioning Brunet Zamora (22-0-2), James Onyango (9-4-1) and Albert Mensah (25-3-1), the latter fight being the IBF eliminator for the #2 spot. Despite being ranked rather high at 140lbs Team Shafikov decided to move down in weight to give their protégé more chances by fighting the opponents of his size in the division, where he can use his power best. Shafikov is still ranked #2 by the IBF at the light welterweight and looks for the occasional opportunity there as well.

Rakhimov, 35, a famed Uzbek amateur (268-18 at unpaid ranks), suffered his first career loss in May 2012, losing closely to Ji-Hoon Kim in the IBF eliminator for the #2 place. He rebounded well, beating Evgueny Kruglik and Michal Dufek in back-to-back fights in October and in November 2012. The Shafikov fight is Alisher’s ultimate chance to get back to the lightweight elite.

The Noginsk show will be co-promoted by the Ural Boxing Promotions (which guides Shafikov) and by Kirill Pchelnikov’s boxing team, whose fighters will also be involved into the promotion. A number of boxers from the both teams will be featured in the undercard.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Slowhand on 02-17-2013

Shafikov made the right move as he lacks badly in height and reach to beat the top 140s. He could go all the way in 135 especially if Broner moves up to 140.

Comment by Freedom. on 02-17-2013

While there are about ten world-class fighters at 140, Shafikov will be one of only three or four good fighters at 135. He could very well become #1 in that division.

Comment by Mikhnienko on 02-17-2013

Looking forward to it and while i understand why Shafikov is is going down to 135 i would still like him to go for an eliminator or title shot in the IBF at 140 since he's ranked #2 there. I…

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