Joseph Diaz primed to make his first title defense!
IBF world super featherweight champion Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz (31-1, 15 KO’s) has announced his next fight. On February 13, 2021, Diaz will make the first defense of his title against mandatory Shavkatzhon “Shere Khan” Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KO’s). Jo-Jo was last in the ring on January 30 when he took on then IBF champion Tevin “The American Dream” Farmer. The divisional rivals had done quite a bit of verbal squabbling on social media and had drummed up a fair amount of interest.
Once in the ring, a determined and skillful Diaz proved to be too big a handful for Farmer. Despite acquiring a terrible gash very early in the fight, Diaz went on to claim a unanimous decision. In the aftermath, there were talks of staging an immediate rematch as stipulated by their contract. However, COVID-19 and behind the scenes politics appeared to have vetoed that option.
Team Farmer believes that Diaz and his think-tank got the IBF to order the fight with his mandatory. It’s their belief that this tactic was used to avoid the rematch. That rationale would not be hard to believe. Jo-Jo never expressed much interest in a second dust-up with the American Dream. Regardless of what took place, Diaz will be facing Rakhimov next.
Shere Khan is a come-forward, pressure fighter with decent hand speed and a penchant for body work. He has respectable pop in his punches and enjoys piling on the punishment. Although, he is readily available to be hit. His last four fights have all ended by stoppage. However, the prizefight with Diaz will be his first in American. Fourteen of his fifteen professional bouts were all fought in Russia.
Once face-to-face, Diaz v Rakhimov should make for a good action fight.
By: Bakari Simpson