Zelfa Barrett will be fighting Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov for the currently vacant IBF Super-Featherweight title on Saturday the 5th of November. Manchester, UK-born Zelfa will be fighting Tajikistani Rakhimov at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Zelfa Barrett Vs Shafqatdzhon Rakhimov is bound to be a stunner super match on an extremely stacked boxing card at the night of Bivol Vs Ramirez.
Table Of Contents
IBF Super-Featherweight Dispute
Joe Cordina’s Reaction
Shafqatdzhon Rakhimov’s Reaction
Zelfa Barrett Vs Shafqatdzhon Rakhimov
Zelfa Barrett’s Reaction
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn Reacts
IBF Super-Featherweight Dispute
After an extremely surprising month for the super-featherweight division with Joe Cordina vs Shafqatdzhon Rakhimov being canceled due to injury. Joe Cordina’s belt was stripped for not facing the IBF challenger with the Federation calling out Cordina for not fulfilling his Championship responsibilities for the Super-featherweight division.
Joe Cordina’s Reaction:
And as unfortunate as that is, the IBF had made clear that this was a fight he could not delay any further away. The challenger Shafqatdzhon, has been awaiting his title shot the entire year and Matchroom boxing booked him for early 2022 with Kenchi Ogawa. However despite this booking, delays from both sides caused the fight to drop out only for Kenchi to fight for the title against Joe Cordina.
Following Cordina’s win IBF issued a statement clearly outlining that a bout with Shafqatdzhon is unavoidable as he is the current ranked two contender for the title. They would later clarify after vacating Joe Cordina from the title.
The International Boxing Federation responded to the public backlash with a statement released on the afternoon of October 4th:
“On May 3, 2022, the IBF sent notification to Matchroom Boxing and Team Rakhimov acknowledging that an agreement had been reached for IBF Jr. Lightweight Champion Kenichi Ogawa to participate in an optional defense of the title against Joseph Cordina on June 4, 2022, after the IBF denied an Exception request to do so. The IBF sanctioned the Ogawa vs. Cordina bout with the following pertinent conditions:
The IBF will not sanction any bouts to further delay the mandatory defense of the IBF Jr. Lightweight title including requests for unification bouts, nor will the IBF grant any further Exception requests.
The winner of the June 4, 2022, bout must make a mandatory defense of the IBF Jr. Lightweight title against Shafqatdzhon Rakhimov within 90 days or by September 2, 2022.
Rakhimov seems extremely confident despite the changes for any IBF top ten fighter at Super-Featherweight. He further wished the best to Cordina for his unfortunate injury.
Shafqatdzhon Rakhimov Vs Zelfa Barrett
Zelfa “The Brown Flash” Barrett rank #2 on the IBF Super-featherweight charts will be facing Shafqatdzhon “Shere Khan” Rakhimov Rank #1 on the 5th of November at the Emirates Arena in Abu Dhabi. The boxing super bout will be for the vacant Super-featherweight title on the same main card as Dmitry Bivol vs Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez.
The Brown Flash’s dreams have come true following the debacle with Joe Cordina and his injury. Regardless of who comes out on top the winner is set to fight Joe Cordina as their first title defense. He had already moved up the rankings quite significantly with his fight against Bruno Tarimo. Winning that had finalized his top 2 position right behind Shafqat Rakhimov. He went on to finish another fighter Faroukh Kourbanov, the same night Joe Cordina won his belt from Kenchi Ogawa.
For Rakhimov this will be his second title shot as he was set to face prior title holder Joseph Diaz who forfeited the title when he came in overweight for his match against the Tajikistani. Shere Khan then went on to draw the match. In the meantime, then ranked #1 Japanese, Kenchi Ogawa would be fighting South African, Azinga Fuzile for the IBF title.
Kenchi would lose his first title defense against British Joe Cordina. Making Cordina the standing title, he would lose the IBF Super-Featherweight title by disqualification on injury.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 22, 2022
“It’s amazing to be fighting for the IBF Super-Featherweight World Title in Abu Dhabi on a big show,” said Barrett. “I feel like it’s deserved. I had a World Title Eliminator last year and I’m ranked No.2 in the world with the IBF. I’ve been in the gym and I’ve always said I’m two fights away from being a World Champion. I beat Bruno Tarimo and then I beat Faroukh Kourbanov. So now I’m here and it’s my time to shine”.
— Black Flash Promotions (Pat Barrett) (@BlackFlashPromo) October 21, 2022
He went on to say:
“Rakhimov is a very good fighter. He comes forward, he’s aggressive and he’s got a good boxing brain. I’m expecting a tough fight and a tough 12 rounds. We’re going to have to work every second of every minute of every round. I’m preparing for that and I’m going to leave no stone unturned. We’re putting everything into this opportunity”.
“Of course you’d like more notice but I’ve been in the gym training and working hard anyway. When we got the call, we were ready. No doubt. Anyone would like more time to prepare but this is what makes me different to the other fighters. Some fighters get 12 weeks, some fighters get 10 weeks, I’ll do it in 6 and look good doing it too.”
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn Reacts:
Eddie Hearn from Matchroom boxing has had this to say about the entire affair.
“Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov against Zelfa Barrett for the vacant IBF Super-Featherweight World Title is another 50-50 fight for Abu Dhabi’s new ‘Champion Series’. Rakhimov is a very good fighter. He’s a former IBO World Champion and has already fought for the IBF World Title. Zelfa is a guy who’s earned his shot. He fought an IBF Eliminator Tarimo and he’s ready to go. This is a massive opportunity for him in neutral territory on a huge show to go and change his life.
“Zelfa Barrett as World Champion against Joe Cordina coming back to try and regain his World Championship is a massive fight for British boxing. Joe will be really down and frustrated at the moment, but he will get that World Title shot as soon as he resumes his career – hopefully that will be against Zelfa Barrett and we’ll get a massive all-British fight. Three World Title fights and a stacked undercard featuring Olympic Champions, former World Champions and some of the best up and coming prospects from around the world – we can’t wait for November 5!”
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 4, 2022
RDX Sports simply can’t wait for Zelfa Barret to get his extremely deserved title shot under the strange circumstances. Often the stars align for Champions to appear and the IBF couldn’t have chosen a more suitable candidate. The pride of British Super-Featherweight dreams and Manchester’s very own Zelfa Flash will bring home gold in Abu Dhabi on Nov 5th.