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IBF orders Shavkat Rakhimov vs Kenichi Ogawa for vacant junior lightweight title

Ogawa controversially beat Tevin Farmer for the belt in 2017 before losing it due to a failed drug test

Joseph Diaz Jr. vs Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

After losing his super featherweight title on the scales this past Friday, Joseph Diaz Jr. will have to fight his way back into the queue. Mike Coppinger reports that the IBF has ordered Shavkat Rakhimov, who fought Diaz to a draw, to fight No. 3 contender Kenichi Ogawa for the now-vacant belt. The pair have until Mar. 17 to hash things out and avoid a purse bid.

The 33-year-old Ogawa (25-1-1, 18 KO) infamously and very controversially got a win over Tevin Farmer for the aforementioned belt in 2017, only for a failed drug test he chalked up to skin medication to cost him both the win and the title. He subsequently sat out for all of 2018 and has gone 3-0-1 since his return, notably fighting ranked contender Joe Noynay to a technical draw in December of 2019.

Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KO) banked enough early rounds to claim a majority draw against “JoJo,” failing to capture the belt but keeping his place atop the rankings. He’d previously run into some PED accusations of his own after coming back to stop Azinga Fuzile in an eliminator.

As far as Diaz, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez had previously raised the possibility of pitting him against WBA “world” champion Roger Gutierrez. There would certainly be no shortage of action in that matchup.

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