Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz is now up against a shorter-than-anticipated deadline.
The defending junior lightweight titlist is officially on the clock for a mandatory title defense versus Russia’s Shavkatadzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12KOs), with the purse bid hearing now moved up by two months. Previously pressed with a mid-January date to determine promotional rights for the fight, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has since expedited the process, as BoxingScene.com has learned that the session is now due to take place on November 17.
“On July 7, 2020 the IBF received a written certification from John Hornewer, Esq. on behalf of #1 ranked Jr. Lightweight contender Shavratdzhon Rakhimov indicating that they were no longer willing to participate in negotiations and requested an immediate purse bid pursuant to IBF Rule 10A,” Daryl Peoples, president of the IBF explained to all registered IBF promoters via official letter, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The IBF ordered a purse bid to be held in these offices on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12 Noon.
“This purse bid has been rescheduled to Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 12 Noon. Bids must be submitted by 11:45 AM to be promptly opened at 12 Noon.”
In lieu of an onsite hearing at IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey, the session will be conducted via Zoom conference call.
Diaz (31-1, 15KOs) claimed the IBF 130-pound title in a 12-round win over Philadelphia’s Tevin Farmer (30-5-1, 6KOs) this past January in Miami, Florida. The pre-Super Bowl victory came with conditional commitments from both parties—the IBF demanded that the winner next face Rakhimov, while the existing contract for the voluntary title fight contained a rematch clause which was immediately exercised by Farmer.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Diaz and Farmer and their respective teams worked out details behind the scenes after months of threatening to move in another direction. Despite their coming to terms for a second fight, the matchup remains without a fight date from DAZN-USA which presented the first fight and would be the platform of choice for the rematch.
Those plans are now greatly challenged by the most recent ruling from the IBF, which doesn’t honor rematch clauses and rarely if ever factor them into any decision to made in the way of ordering title fights. A rare exception came last summer, when Anthony Joshua was provided a path to challenge lone career conqueror Andy Ruiz for his heavyweight titles after suffering a 7th round knockout defeat in their first fight.
The IBF reluctantly granted Ruiz and Joshua the right to an immediate rematch, provided the winner next face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. Joshua outpointed Ruiz last December to regain his unified titles, and will defend versus Bulgaria’s Pulev on December 12 in London.
It’s a different scenario with Diaz and Farmer, as their plans have been long delayed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic along with other sidebar issues. Should Farmer get his way and hold Diaz to their contractually-bound rematch regardless of circumstance, the fight could come without the IBF title at stake, which would significantly devalue a fight that was never in high demand even in present form.
Rakhimov became the mandatory challenger following a come-from-behind 8th round knockout win over Azinga Fuzile on the road in South Africa last September. The bout was protested by Fuzile’s camp, on the grounds of suspicion that Rakhimov and his team used smelling salts—which are banned from corners—to revive the woozy boxer after badly trailing through seven rounds.
The IBF spent nearly four months reviewing the matter and other allegations, ultimately clearing the Russian boxer of any wrongdoing in officially naming him as the mandatory challenger.
Any promoter wishing to participate in the purse bid must be registered with the IBF and submit a $5,000 non-refundable participation fee. Along with the entry fee, the “participating promoter must also submit at that time a check, money order or bank wire representing 10% of the total amount of the bid. Within 5 business days following the purse bid procedure, the winning promoter must forward another payment to this office representing 10% of the bid, for a total of 20% of the total amount bid.”
The minimum acceptable bid for an IBF title fight in the 130-pound division is $50,000. The winning bid will be split 65%-35% in favor of the defending champion.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox