Earlier today in Russia, IBO super-featherweight champ Shavkat Rakhimov made the third retention of his belt with an impressive and exciting 4th-round retirement win over a game but outgunned Rofhiwa Maemu of South Africa. Now 14-0(11), 24-year-old Rakhimov of Ekaterinburg showed again how he is both a force to be reckoned with at 130 pounds and a fan-friendly fighter.
Fast and always throwing lots of punches, the southpaw who went pro in December of 2015 and has plenty of time on his side before he needs to go looking for the big guns of his weight division, is a hurtful body puncher. Maemu, who today fell to 18-8-2(12), found this out quite quickly. The two got off to a sprightly start, with both men slinging out plenty of leather. Maemu was hurt bad by a low blow, but soon enough he was decked by a legit body punch.
The second saw more trading and it seemed for a time that a great fight was perhaps shaping up, instead, Rakhimov’s body work got the better of the challenger once again. Dropped hard for a second time, 27year old Maemu was pulled out at the conclusion of round-four.
It’s early days for the Russian lefty, but Rakhimov does look to have a very bright future. Today’s bout marked Rakhimov’s first action of this year, the IBO strap-holder having had just two fights last year. For a younger fighter, Rakhimov should perhaps be having more fights per year and hopefully he will be back in the ring sooner rather than later. With his action-packed style, combined with his desire to learn, who knows – maybe we will be seeing Rakhimov in there with a big 130-pound name over the coming months.
Yet to fight outside of Russia, Rakhimov would almost certainly be welcomed by U.S fight fans. This writer had the opportunity to speak with Rakhimov a few months back, and he said his boxing heroes and influences are Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson and Andre Ward. As far as his biggest and best asset in the ring goes, Rakhimov says his great stamina is firmly at the top of the list.
For sure, Rakhimov has yet to look even a little winded in one of his fights so far. Let’s hope we see more of this exciting fighter soon.