Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov Stops Zelfa Barrett to Win IBF Championship!
In their latest tour of duty, super featherweight fighters Shavkatdzhon “Shere Khan” Rakhimov (17-0-1, 14 KO’s) took on Zelfa “Brown Flash” Barrett (28-2, 16 KO’s). Hanging in the balance of this contest was the vacant IBF 130-pound title.
Originally, mandatory challenger Rakhimov was going to face then IBF super featherweight champion Joe Cordina. This fight was then scrapped when Cordina pulled out after suffering a hand injury. This pull-out led to the IBF stripping Cordina of the belt. The winner of Rakhimov and Barrett will then face Cordina next.
This will actually be the second time that Rakhimov, 28, is fighting for the IBF super featherweight title. The talented southpaw first dueled Joseph Diaz to a majority decision draw for the strap back on February 13, 2021. While secondary, Shere Khan did previously capture the vacant IBO 130-pound title over Emanuel Lopez in 2017. The Tajikistan native would make three defenses.
For his part, Barrett is on a nine-fight, four-year win streak since suffering his only loss to Ronnie Clark on February 24, 2018. During this streak of victories, Barrett, 29, has picked up several secondary super featherweight titles such as: Commonwealth Boxing Council, IBF inter-continental and EBU European belts. This will be Brown Flash’s first attempt at a full world title.
WHEN THE OTHER SHOE DROPS
The opening rounds saw a determined Rakhimov pursue the fleet-footed Barrett around the ring. While he was a consistently moving target, Brown Flash was not running. Very frequently he would plant his feet and fire off rapid combinations that were evenly distributed to the head and body. During the third period, for Rakhimov, things took a drastic turn for the worst. In the first minute, he was buzzed with a short counter-shot, complained of a low blow midway through, then was dropped with a counter-right uppercut in the final minute.
With the coming of the fifth round, Brown Flash notably slowed his movement, which served Shere Khan well. Presented with a more stationary target, far more of Rakhimov’s shots began finding reliable homes. The action continued to even out through the eighth. In the ninth, the two engaged in a phonebooth brawl that resulted in Barrett being battered and stumbling to the canvas. After rising and fighting valiantly, Brown Flash was put down again at which point his corner threw in the towel.
If all goes according to plan, Rakhimov will face Joe Cordina in his next match.
By: Bakari Simpson