Joseph Diaz Jr. vs Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov Preview Feb. 13th
IBF Junior Lightweight Champion Joseph Diaz Jr of Downey, California takes on unbeaten Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov of Tajikistan this Saturday, Feb. 13th in his first title defence, which is a mandatory. Diaz won his title with a unanimous decision over Tevin Farmer in January 2020 while Rakhimov last fought in September, 2019 when he stopped Azinga Fuzile in the eighth round to earn the title shot. The 12-rounder between two southpaws from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California can be seen on DAZN in most nations.
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Diaz Jr. vs Rakhimov Betting Odds
- Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov +165
- Joseph Diaz Jr. -205
The 28-year-old Diaz Jr. lost his first world title shot when he dropped a unanimous decision to WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. in May 2018. He then beat WBA titleholder Jesus Rojas by unanimous decision three months later but he came in overweight for the fight and wasn’t able to win the belt. So it was third time lucky for him when he beat Farmer.
Diaz will climb through the ropes with a mark of 31-1 with 15 Kos. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team at the 2012 Games in London, England where he went 1-1 as a bantamweight. He also reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Amateur Championships. Diaz turned pro in December, 2012 and has fought 227 rounds since. He has average power in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 46.9 per cent.
Diaz stands 5-feet-6-inches tall with a 64-inch reach. Since turning pro he’s captured the NABF and WBO-NABO Featherweight Titles and the WBA Gold Super Featherweight Crown. Along with meeting Russell, his toughest opponents to date have been Farmer, Rojas, Jesus Cuadro, Freddy Fonseca, Victor Terrazas, Rafael Rivera, Manuel Avila, Horacio Garcia, Jayson Velez, Hugo Partida, Rene Alvarado, Roberto Castaneda and Ruben Tamayo.
Rakhimov enters the contest with a perfect record of 15-0 with 12 Kos. The 26-year-old turned pro in 2015 and has just 68 rounds under his belt at the moment. He’s just over 5-feet-8-inches tall with an unlisted reach so has a 2.5-inch edge in height on the champion. Rakhimov was a three time Tajikistan amateur champion from 2013 to 2015 and boxed at the 2013 AIBA World Championships where he went 2-1 as a light welterweight.
He’s fought mainly in Russia since turning pro with his only road trip being to South Africa in his last outing when he stopped Fuzile. Rakhimov certainly has some power as his current knockout ratio stands at an impressive 80 per cent but he’s also been on the canvas in his pro career. He won the vacant IBO Super Featherweight Title in 2017 when he beat Emanuel Lopez by unanimous decision and defended it three times against Malcolm Klassen, Robinson Castellanos and Rofhiwa Maemu all by stoppage in the 8th, 2nd and 4th round respectively.
Rakhimov has stopped his last four opponents and 10 of his last 11 but he’s more than just a power puncher. He possesses good footwork, positioning, a fine jab and hard left hand, but is still a work in progress and isn’t perfect by any means. Diaz Jr. is a good opponent who throws a lot of punches behind a solid jab. He mixes things up and has a good body attack too and should be Rakhimov’s toughest test to date. Both of them are workmanlike boxers and this should be an entertaining tilt and a very close fight. I won’t be surprised by any outcome as this is another of this weekend’s tough bouts to predict. I’m going to sway slightly towards Rakhimov though.
A very close call with Rakhimov having a slight edge.
Play: Rakhimov +165 @ BetOnline.ag
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