Those eager for more Friday fights are in luck, as Mike Coppinger reports that ESPN+ will carry the August 20th vacant IBF featherweight title fight between Shavkat Rakhimov and Kenichi Ogawa.
The bout takes place in Dubai, so expect a late morning/early afternoon start time.
Both Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KO) and Ogawa (25-1-1, 18 KO) have rather interesting history with the belt at stake. Rakhimov knocked out current mandatory challenger Azinga Fuzile in controversial fashion to earn a crack at then-champion Joseph Diaz Jr., whom he fought to a draw despite “JoJo” missing weight by more than two pounds. Ogawa, meanwhile, enjoyed a brief reign after taking a questionable split decision over Tevin Farmer, only to be stripped when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone.
For the record, Ogawa attributed the failed test to medication for a skin condition.
It’s good to see American viewers getting the chance to watch a well-matched title bout between two capable, entertaining fighters. Definitely a solid appetizer for Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. the next day.