By Yuri Tarantin (Allboxing.ru) and Alexey Sukachev
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Top Rank won a purse bid for a mandatory defense of the IBF lightweight title between reigning champion and TBRB #2 135-lber Mickey Bey (21-1-1, 10 KOs) and his obligatory challenger Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19 KOs) of Miass, Russia.
The bid came after a round of fruitless negotiations between the Top Rank, which co-promotes IBF #1 Shafikov, and Mayweather Promotions, which guides Bey, which resulted in cancellation of the contest, pre-planned for April 30 in Las Vegas, NV.
According to Allboxing.ru, a deal is now reached. Shafikov, 29, will collide with Bey, 31, at Cotai Arena in Venetian Casino and Resort in Macao, China, as a part of a huge show, pre-arranged by Top Rank on July 18. Bey will make the first defense of the title, that he wrestled out of the hands of Miguel Vazquez in a controversial fight last September.
Denis Shafikov is fully ready for the upcoming fight, “I have been preparing for a fight with Bey on April 30 but he refused to fight me on that date”, commented Shafikov to Allboxing’s Yuri Tarantin. “I was in tip-top shape for that (cancelled contest). It was said he refused over money guaranteed for such a clash. My team anticipated that he would vacate the title but I have never bought that. What for? A man in his mind won’t vacate the title for nothing so it came for me as no surprise that he signed the agreement this Monday. For me it’s much more prestigious to defeat the champion than to win a vacant title against fellow challenger. I had been in camp for two months, then I took a small break, and now I’m back into the gym under Abel Sanchez’s tutelage”.
“I took some time off to visit home. But now I’m bored and ready to train even more zealously than ever. I’m really pumped up, especially after recent wins by my teammates Kostya Ponomarev (over Michael Zewski) and Murat Gassiev (over Felix Cora Jr.)”, said Shafikov.
Regarding his losing effort in Miguel Vazquez fight, “With time having passed by, I’m more and more convinced that I had underestimated the long-reigning IBF champion. I had previously sparred with Vazquez and beat him to the punch fairly easy. I thought I would be repeated in Macao, but on the fight date Miguel was much stronger than before. Now I have my second and most probably last chance for the belt, and I’m not gonna blow it. I’ll be 110 percent ready for the fight”.
Denis Shafikov vs. Mickey Bey will be part of a card, which will also reportedly feature a fight for a vacant IBF light welterweight title between Ik Yang of China and Thailand’s Patomsuk Patompothong, and the comeback of ex-champion Brian Viloria, and the return of Nonito Donaire.