Joseph Diaz-Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov title fight back on after Rakhimov tests negative
The February 13 world title fight between IBF junior lightweight titleholder Joseph Diaz and mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov is back on, Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz confirmed to The Ring Tuesday night.
The 12-round bout, which will headline a DAZN telecast, headlines a Golden Boy Promotions card that was was originally scheduled to take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, but now it looks like The Avalon in Hollywood, California is in play to host the card.
Last week, Boxingscene’s Keith Idec was the first to report Rakhimov (15-0, 12 knockouts) tested positive for COVID-19. Diaz admitted a back-up plan was put in place had Rakhimov continued testing positive for the virus.
“(A new opponent) was never finalized since Rakhimov was never confirmed out,” Diaz told The Ring.
Rakhimov, who is originally from Tajikistan and is now being trained by Freddie Roach at the famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, has since tested negative, allowing the fight against Diaz to move forward.
The 26-year-old southpaw became the mandatory challenger to the IBF title in September 2019 after stopping Azinga Fuzile in round 8 of an elimination bout between unbeaten fighters in Fuzile’s hometown of East London, South Africa. Fuzile’s team submitted an appeal to the IBF, alleging that Rakhimov illegally used smelling salts in between rounds, but the sanctioning body upheld the outcome of the fight after a four-month investigation.
Rakhimov is promoted by German Titov and managed by Egis Klimas.
Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs), who grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South El Monte, has not fought since defeating Tevin Farmer by unanimous decision on January 30 of last year to win the IBF title. Diaz is currently ranked No. 3 by The Ring.
In the co-feature, WBO junior middleweight titleholder Patrick Teixeira will defend his world title belt against mandatory challenger Brian Castano in a 12-round bout.
Castano and Teixeira are ranked No. 5 and 9 by The Ring, respectively.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing