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Shavkat Rakhimov out, Azinga Fuzile in against Kenichi Ogawa for vacant title

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Fuzile beat Martin Joseph Ward in an eliminator earlier this year

Devin Haney v Jorge Linares - Weigh In Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

Super featherweight contender Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov recently withdrew from a vacant IBF title fight with Kenichi Ogawa due to injury, and it looks like he may be out for longer than expected. Teiken Promotions announced that Ogawa will instead begin negotiations with Azinga Fuzile, who was next in line for a crack at the title.

The pair were actually set to fight back in 2019, but Ogawa (25-1-1, 18 KO) wound up withdrawing less than two months from fight night, leaving South Africa’s Fuzile (15-1, 9 KO) to suffer a controversial KO loss to Rakhimov. While Fuzile’s subsequent protest didn’t overturn the result, it did get him another eliminator, which he made the most of by stopping Martin Joseph Ward last May.

I’m quite high on the 25-year-old Fuzile and do feel he got shafted after Rakhimov appeared to take smelling salts and left a metric f***load of drugs in his hotel room, so I’m glad to see him getting this opportunity. He and Ogawa should make for a great fight.