IBF rules against 'Golden Boy'

Azinga Fuzile, right, in action against Russian Shavkatzdhon Rakhimov.
Azinga Fuzile, right, in action against Russian Shavkatzdhon Rakhimov.
Image: ALAN EASON

Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov has been recognised as the winner of the IBF junior lightweight elimination fight between Azinga "Golden Boy" Fuzile, IBF president Darry Peoples has announced.

The American said the Russian boxer is the official mandatory challenger for newly crowned IBF holder Joseph Diaz who dethroned Tervin Famer on January 30.

Peoples added that Diaz is required to make a mandatory defence against Rakhimov on or before July 30.

This comes after the New Jersey-based sanctioning body's appeal panel met to hear the appeal of the outcome of the elimination bout between Rakhimov and Fuzile which took place in East London on September 29.

Rakhimov's handler Ruslan Agishev was caught on video administering what was suspected to be "smelling salts" in the nostrils of the boxer in the corner before the start of round eight.

Any use of substances, including smelling salts, is banned in boxing with Boxing South Africa (BSA) regulations explicit about their prohibition. Fuzile's trainer Colin Nathan and Boxing SA lodged a formal protest over the incident.

Peoples announced in a statement yesterday that the three-member panel heard the arguments from representatives on behalf of Fuzile and Rakhimov.

"The IBF will recognise Rakhimov as the winner of the elimination bout against Fuzile by a TKO in the eight round," he said.

"Rakhimov will be the No 1 contender and mandatory challenger for the IBF title. Azinga will be ordered to participate in an elimination bout against the leading available contender for the mandatory position. Diaz won the title on January 30 and is required to make a mandatory defence against Rakhimov on or before July 30. The winner will be required to make mandatory defence against the leading available contender by April 30 2021."

That means if Fuzile prevails against a yet-to-be-identified opponent, the 23-year-old left hander from Duncan Village, who suffered his first loss in 15 fights, will challenge the winner between Diaz and Rakhimov.

Fuzile's trainer Colin Nathan said: "While I will accept the decision by the IBF, by no means will I accept the fact that Rakhimov's corner's behaviour. The video footage is clear of the fact that they were not on the level. Next stop is the IBF eliminator whom the IBF will order for Azinga."

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