Bektemir Melikuziev faces Morgan Fitch on Diaz-Rakhimov card
Bektemir Melikuziev will face Morgan Fitch on February 13, Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz told The Ring Monday night.
The eight-round bout will take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California and will likely be streamed live on DAZN.
The Melikuziev-Fitch fight will be part of preliminary action leading up to the two world title fights taking place later that evening, including the main event bout between WBO junior middleweight titleholder Patrick Teixeira and mandatory challenger Brian Castano. The other world title bout will be Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz defending his IBF junior lightweight title against mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.
Melikuziev (6-0, 6 knockouts), who is originally from Uzbekistan and now lives and trains in Indio, was scheduled to face former three-time world light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev on January 30 in Moscow, Russia. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced Golden Boy to move the card to Indio from Moscow earlier last month.
The fight between Kovalev and Melikuziev was officially cancelled on January 15 after Kovalev tested positive for a banned substance (synthetic testosterone) through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
“Upon learning of Kovalev’s adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CASC) determined that they must cancel the event,” stated Golden Boy in a statement released the same day the fight was cancelled.
Melikuziev remains very active in the ring, which Golden Boy and manager Vadim Kornilov have wanted since he turned pro in June 2019.
“We made several offers to ranked fighters, but not many (were) willing to step in the ring on short notice,” said Diaz.
In his last bout on October 30, Melikuziev, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, dropped Mexico’s Alan Campa three times en route to a third-round knockout victory. In his previous bout on February 14, the 24-year-old knocked out Oscar Cortes in the opening round.
Melikuziev is trained by Joel Diaz.
Fitch (19-4-1, 8 KOs), who resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has not fought since October 2019, losing by knockout in round 6 to then-unbeaten Anthony Sims. The 37-year-old has lost four of his last five bouts after going unbeaten in his first 19 bouts as a pro.
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