By Alexey Sukachev
A long-awaited IBF lightweight championship fight between reigning champion Mickey Bey Jr. (21-1-1, 10 KOs) and his mandatory and IBF #1 rated challenger Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19 KOs) is in jeopardy again. The clash is scheduled to be aired live on April 30 from Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas as a special event of popular ESPN FNF series.
“Denis is ultimately ready for the most important fight in his live. He is calm, serious and gives his all in the training camp," reported his manager Oleg Bogdanov exclusively to BoxingScene.com.
“However, we’re still unsure if the fight is taking place as scheduled. Our Team agreed on every possible term of our counterpart. We’re ready to fight on Bey’s home turf, we’re ready to give him all the advantages as the champion - but their demands just keep growing more and more."
Bogdanov, a career-long Shafikov’s guide, was really animated about the whole situation.
“Let’s be honest. Bey is only formally a champion. But he is a fluke-champion, a very lucky one. He was awarded with an unearthly early Christmas gift against long-time champion (Miguel) Vazquez in one of the dullest stinkers in the history of the game. Now he behaves like a diva”.
“Top Rank and Mayweather’s promotional company are still struggling to get an agreement due to their ever increasing demands. Right now it looks like the fight is going back to the purse bid stage. [The way it looks a purse bid] is now planned for April 14. And believe me we’re not kidding about the third party [interested in bidding]. It does exist, and it can lay a major offer to snatch the rights for the fight”, concluded Bogdanov.
Shafikov, who lost to Vazquez on a close unanimous decision in February 2014, came back into title contention with an overwhelming stoppage of his Russian compatriot Rustam Nugaev last August. Bey Jr. captured the red belt by narrowly edging Vazquez on a split nod in a highly controversial win one month later.