Abu Dhabi – For the vacant IBF super featherweight title, Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (17-0-1, 14 KOs) came from behind to score a stoppage win over Zelfa Barrett in the ninth round.
Rakhimov now has to face former champion Joe Cordina, who was forced to vacate due to injury.
Barret was boxing well in the first two rounds. In the third, Barrett buzzed Rakhimov with a good right and later scored a knockdown when a right hand sent Rakhimov down. In the fourth, Rakhimov was applying a lot of pressure, but got buzzed by an uppercut at one point.
Rakhimov began to rally in the fifth, sixth and seventh. He was applying a lot of pressure and making the rounds very close by fighting on the inside. Barrett wasn’t throwing as much in the eight, with Rakhimov coming forward and throwing. In the ninth, Rakhimov buzzed Barrett with a series of punches – scoring two knockdowns to secure the stoppage. It appeared initially that Barrett had some type of leg injury because he could barely stand, but his corner denied that and said the boxer was simply exhausted.