Shavkat Rakhimov is the new IBF super featherweight champion after stopping Zelfa Barrett in round nine for the vacant belt in Abu Dhabi.
Rakhimov would climb off the canvas in round four to come back and stop Barrett in the ninth round, despite trailing on the scorecards in the eyes of many.
Rakhimov tried to apply pressure as he so often does from the first bell, but Barrett would whip in some vicious shots on the back foot to keep him at bay.
Barrett’s movement was working well as he was never a standing target for Rakhimov, Rakhimov did land a couple of shots in the early rounds, but Barrett’s movement and catching his man on the counter was the more eye-catching work of the two.
Barrett caught Rakhimov with a perfect counter punch which momentarily wobble him in round three. ‘Brown Flash’ would follow up his quality work as he would catch Rakhimov with a counter right uppercut, which would send him Rakhimov to the canvas.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) November 5, 2022
Rakhimov sensed he was behind at the mid-point and would start to apply more pressure, as he attempted to cut off the ring and slow Barrett down.
Barrett’s ferocious pace was beginning to drop as Rakhimov continued to pile on the pressure, however, the Brit would continue to get out of Rakhimov’s firing line. Barrett would finish the eighth round strong, as he unloaded a flurry of punches, whilst resisting the urge to trade with the power puncher.
Round nine would see Rakhimov turn the fight in his favour and close the show, as Barrett’s leg would seemingly give in and cause his balance to be all over the place. Rakhimov smelt blood and would unload and send the Brit to the canvas. Barrett would get to his feet and would trade with Rakhimov. The Manchester man would come off second best in the trade-off and Rakhimov would drop him again, leading to the referee stopping the bout.
👑 Rakhimov is the IBF King
— IntuBoxing (@IntuBoxing) November 5, 2022
Rakhimov now holds the IBF super featherweight title, and it has been confirmed that he will face the man he was initially supposed to fight, former world champion, Joe Cordina. Barrett will almost definitely come again after an impressive performance at world level.