Joseph “JoJo” Diaz lost his IBF junior lightweight belt when he failed to make weight on Friday, but mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov can still win the title when the two face off at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California on Saturday night.
If Diaz wins the fight, the IBF title will become vacant, as Diaz is ineligible to win the championship after missing weight.
Diaz Misses Weight for Second Time
Diaz weighed in at 133.6 pounds, well over the 130-pound limit for the junior lightweight division. Rakhimov came in at 129.8 pounds.
This is the second tie that Diaz has failed to make weight. He came up half a pound heavy when challenging for Jesus Rojas’ WBA featherweight title in 2018, meaning he walked away without the title despite winning the fight by unanimous decision.
|Diaz vs. Rakhimov Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Joseph Diaz: -200||Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov: +150|
|Method of Victory|
|Diaz by Decision: -139||Rakhimov by Decision: +275|
|Diaz by KO/TKO/DQ: +750||Rakhimov by KO/TKO/DQ: +600|
Diaz will pay a $100,000 fine for missing weight, equal to 20 percent of his $500,000 purse. Rakhimov and the California State Athletic Commission will split that money evenly.
Still, Saturday’s fight will go on. And for Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs), a title shot is a title shot, no matter what the circumstances may be.
“It’s bad news for everybody especially for the sport of boxing,” Rakhimov trainer German Titov told BoxingScene.com. “As far as our team is concerned, we will still take this fight and will try to win the title no matter what.”
Rakhimov hasn’t fought since September 2019, when he defeated fellow undefeated prospect Azinga Fuzile in a title eliminator. The Russian has shown remarkable punching power throughout his career, and will likely be looking to win by knockout on Saturday night.
Power Doesn’t Worry Former Champion
For Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs), there’s no way to hold onto his title now. But he’ll still have the opportunity to build his resume with a win over a quality opponent. Diaz has more experience in big fights that Rakhimov, and boasts a solid technical amateur pedigree, having fought for the United States in the 2012 Olympics. He is fighting for the first time since January 2020, when he won the IBF title via unanimous decision over Tevin Farmer.
According to Diaz, he and his team have prepared for anything Rakhimov can dish out.
“We’re ready for whatever he brings to the table,” Diaz told reporters. “If he thinks he’s gonna come in and overwhelm me with his power, that’s not going to happen.”
Diaz comes in as a solid favorite in what is expected to be a competitive fight. DraftKings Sporstbook lists Diaz as the -200 pick over Rakhimov (+150). The oddsmaker also expects the fight to go the distance (-500), with Rakhimov slightly more likely to win by knockout than Diaz.