Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov will wait until his hand is raised before celebrating anything about this weekend.
For now, the unbeaten Russian junior lightweight contender is the only one eligible to win the IBF title at stake for his clash with Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz. Revised terms are still being discussed for bout as this goes to publish, in the aftermath of Diaz weighing 133.6 pounds—3.6 pounds over the divisional limit—at Friday’s official pre-fight weigh-in ahead of Saturday’s show which airs live on DAZN from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
According to California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) rules, boxers who weigh more than two (2) pounds over the contracted limit are not permitted a second weight-cut attempt. With that, the IBF title is now vacant and on the line only for Rakhimov who weighed 129.8 pounds for his first fight in the United States.
Diaz (31-1, 15KOs) was ridiculed by many in the industry for his lack of professionalism, though his opponent isn’t interested in adding to the pile.
“It’s bad news for everybody especially for the sport of boxing,” German Titov, Rakhimov’s promoter told BoxingScene.com of the weigh-in fiasco. “Of course, there is nothing we can do about it. We have no control over Joseph Diaz and how he trains.”
The incident marks the second time where Diaz missed weight in a title fight. The 2012 U.S. Olympian and now former 130-pound titlist from Downey, California weighed 126 ½ pounds for an Aug. 2018 points win over Puerto Rico’s Jesus M. Rojas, though unable to claim Rojas’ secondary WBA featherweight title due to weighing above the divisional limit.
Given the significant amount by which he missed weight, Diaz not only faces a fine from the CSAC but has put the fight at risk of not happening at all. For now, Rakhimov is entitled to half of the 20% fine issued against Diaz ($100,000 of his reported $500,000 purse; $50,000 each to Rakhimov and to the CSAC).
Whatever financial and weight stipulations are to come from ongoing talks, the main objective is to not waste a trip to the United States and a full training camp.
“As far as our team is concerned, we will still take this fight and will try to win the title no matter what,” insists Titov.
Rakhimov has not fought since a come-from-behind 8th round knockout of Azinga Fuzile in their Sept. 2019 title eliminator between unbeaten contenders in East London, South Africa.
Diaz won the title in a 12-round unanimous decision over Tevin Farmer last January in Miami. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic kept him out of the ring for the remainder of the year, with Friday’s outcome ending his title reign without registering a single defense.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox