By James Slater
Unbeaten lightweight/light-welterweight Denis Shafikov, 31-0-1(17) could certainly be regarded as that old cliché, one of the best kept secrets in boxing, but the Russian southpaw is confident he will soon get the big fights his talents deserve. Next up for the 27-year-old will be a March 16th fight with fellow Russian, Alisher Rahimov, 25-1(12), and after that, the man known as “Djingis Khan” is hoping to get a fight with current hot-shot/future superstar Adrien Broner.
“Training has been great for the Rahimov fight,” Denis says, as translated by Steve Bash.
“I’ve had camp at The Wild Card in L.A. I’ve been sparring with Ruslan Provodnikov, who has his own big fight coming up, with Timothy Bradley. I feel great and I still have two weeks left to put on the finishing touches. I expect an interesting fight on March 16th, a good, exciting fight for the fans. Rahimov is well known to me, he has a good amateur pedigree, and with what he and I bring, it should be a good fight.”
Having boxed almost all of his pro career at 140 or above, Shafikov is now decided on boxing permanently at 135-pounds.
“It has proven hard finishing opponents off at 140 and above. They are bigger than me and it’s not anything to do with skill; they are just hard to stop. Bigger guys need more wearing down. At lightweight, I believe I will not be going to the scorecards as often. For my last fight (a 12-round points win over Albert Mensah in Mexico in December), I weighed 62-kilograms and I wasn’t trying to cut weight.”
Like most lower-weight guys, Shafikov would love a piece of Adrien Broner.
“Absolutely, I’d love to test my skills against Broner. Since coming to America, to L.A, I’ve sparred guys I’d only heard about before – like Israel Vazquez, Fernando Beltran and of course Ruslan Provodnikov, my countryman who has also come to America. This has given me much more confidence. My plan now is to stay at 135, but if the big opportunity of a Broner fight came, I would follow him to wherever. Everyone is now saying he is The One. I believe I am The One!”
First comes the March fight with Rahimov, who has been beaten only by Ji-Hoon Kim. Denis is confident of victory.
“I never give fight predictions, but everything will be shown in the ring. I am confident of my abilities.”