Exclusive interview by Nick Skok – This weekend an intriguing matchup between two undefeated super featherweights will take place in South Africa. Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8 knockouts) will defend his home turf and look to rise up the IBF rankings where he’s currently ranked number 5, as he welcomes in the number 4 rated IBF contender Shavkat Rakhimov (14-0, 11 knockouts).
Stakes are high and each fighter is looking to build on their recent success though the fact this matchup came to fruition is a bit surprising. Fuzile was supposed to travel to Japan for a title eliminator against Kenichi Ogawa though visa issues prevented this from happening. Now he’ll have an equally or potentially more dangerous opponent depending on who you ask.
Recently, Rakhimov was kind enough to take time out of his fight week preparations to answer some questions related to his travel across the world, as well as his thoughts on Fuzile himself.
Nick Skok: How was training camp, and the experience of making it in L.A?
Shavkat Rakhimov: My training camp went well. At first I was engaged in physical training, then there were sparrings. There was a camp in L.A. because there was such an opportunity. I always wanted to see the Boxing world in the United States from the inside. It’s precisely the United States the world leader in Boxing. And also a friend and my teammate had a fight in New York.
NS: Will you return to training in Russia or are you staying in L.A. from now on?
SR: I always train in Russia because I live there. And for me, all the conditions for quality training have been created by RCC and my promoter German Titov. In L.A., of course I want to go back. You always need to develop, learn something new in your profession. And in the USA there is everything for this, including good sparring partners. But even more I want to have a fight in the U.S. to make myself known and for the American public to know about me.
NS: You and Fuzile are both 14-0. Do you consider this an even match? What is your opinion on him?
SR: Fuzile and I are both young and undefeated boxers. I don’t think much about him. He is another step on my way to the top of Boxing world.
NS: You’re ranked well with IBF and WBC. Who do you consider the best in the division and are they your ultimate opponent goal for you?
SR: The main goal for me is to get championship belts. Whoever they will be with will be my goal. Now its the IBF belt with Farmer. I need this belt, so Farmer will be my next goal after Fuzile.
NS: Was Castellanos your toughest opponent? Why or who if not?
SR: Castellanos was a very experienced and serious rival. He defeated the Olympic champion Gamboa. The opposition, I think, was the most serious one. But I am preparing for all my rivals equally serious. No one should be underestimated.
NS: Do you anticipate staying at 130lbs next year as well?
SR: I haven’t thought about that yet. I now have goals in this weight, and I will achieve them. I feel comfortable here. When I conquer everything in this weight, I will think about moving to the next one.
NS: How do you expect to win?
SR: It’s important for me to win. I want to show what I can do and how I do it. You will see September 29th.
NS: What’s your message for your opponent Fuzile?
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