Former super featherweight world champion Rances Barthelemy (22-2-1, 12KOs) of Cuba will take on Denis Shafikov (23-0, 13KOs) of Russia this Friday. The main event bout is scheduled for 12 rounds and the vacant IBF lightweight title. The site of the card will be the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show will be aired in the United States on Spike TV. The card will be promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
It’s been nearly two years since Barthelemy challenged for his first world title in January 2014. Barthelemy challenged then champion Argenis Mendez. It appeared that Barthelemy had knocked Mendez out in round two to become the new world champion. The replay showed that he had hit Mendez a fraction after the bell had sounded to end round 2. The decision was eventually overturned to a no decision. The two would rematch about 6 months later where Barthelemy would win a clear unanimous decision over Mendez to win his first world title.
Barthelemy would defend his title one time before vacating and moving up to the lightweight division. He tested himself with a few fights to adjust to the new weight. He now finds himself in position to win his second world title in as many divisions. Shafikov could present Barthelemy with his toughest test as a pro. He is a very tough and gritty southpaw. He has also fought at 140 for years before dropping down to 135. He should have the overall physical size advantage on Barthelmy. Shafikov came up short in his only world title bid in 2014 vs. Miguel Vazquez. Shafikov should be be hungry to win his first world title. It will be up to Barthelemy to take away that hunger and win his second world title.