By Karl Freitag
In an IBF lightweight eliminator, Denis Shafikov (34-1-1, 19 KOs) scored a punishing ninth round TKO over Rustam Nugaev (27-7-1, 17 KOs) on Friday night at the Chumash Resort & Casino in Santa Ynez, California. Southpaw Shafikov outboxed Nugaev all the way in a fight that featured good close-quarters action. Shafikov brutally broke down Nugaev as the bout progressed. The bout was almost stopped by Nugaev’s corner after round eight, but the super game Nugaev insisted on continuing. It was finally waved off by referee Jack Reiss in round nine. Time was 1:16.
Shafikov will now be ranked #1 by the IBF and become the mandatory challenger for IBF lightweight title currently held by Miguel Vazquez. Vazquez already beat Shafikov by unanimous decision in February.
Undefeated 2008 Puerto Rico Olympian and current IBO jr. lightweight champion Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (18-0, 12 KOs) won when Juan Carlos “El Pez” Martinez (19-15-1, 6 KOs) quit between rounds six and seven. The larger Pedraza gradually wore down Martinez, who took the fight on ten days’ notice. The bout was a non-title affair.