By Luke Furman
Russian boxer Denis Shafikov will be changing his weight division for his next ring return, with a drop down to the super featherweight limit of 130-pounds, according to the director of Ural Boxing Promotions, Alexey Vasiliev.
Previously, the 32-year-old Shafikov performed in some of the toughest fights in the lightweight division, where he failed on three occasions to secure the IBF title. In the professional ring, Shafikov, who previously fought at junior welterweight, has a record of 38 wins with three losses and one draw.
"Denis will compete in the lower weight category - up to 130-pounds. We are currently negotiating, we expect that he will hold his next fight in the new weight category in October or November. He is already training in the United States," Vasiliev told Vasily Konov.
Shafikov, who trains with veteran coach Abel Sanchez, was last seen in action back in June when he lost a twelve round decision to IBF champion Robert Easter. He earned that shot by defeating Richard Commey by way of a split decision last December in Moscow.
He got his first IBF title shot in 2014, but lost a twelve round decision to far more experienced Miguel Vazquez when they collided in Macao, China.
Shafikov then picked up three victories before earning a crack at the vacant IBF title against Rances Barthelemy in Las Vegas. Once again he was defeated, by way a twelve round unanimous decision. He was able to bounce back strong in his next fight, when he dropped and knocked out undefeated Olympian Jamel Herring in Reading, PA.
Standing at only 5'5 - appearing to be even shorter - he had a lot of trouble with the much taller champions in the weight class like Barthelemy (5'11) and Easter (5'11) and Vazquez (5'10) - but he was still competitive in the fights.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.