Junior lightweight Jojo Diaz lost his title on the scale, but he almost dropped the fight to Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, who fought him to a majority draw.
Boxer Jojo Diaz had a rough 2020, and 2021 didn’t start well for him either, but he avoided a total loss against little known Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.
Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) was supposed to defend his IBF junior lightweight title against Rakhimov on Feb. 13, but he lost his title on the scale the night before. He missed weight by a shocking 3.6 pounds and didn’t have the option of trying to lose the weight due to California State Athletic Commission rules.
Diaz and Rakhimov made a financial deal to allow the fight to continue as planned, but Diaz’s title was gone whether he won or lost. It was only on the line for the undefeated Rakhimov.
Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KOs) came into the match with little fanfare but his undefeated record and impressive 80 percent KO rating boded well for him as he fought for a major boxing title for the first time against a suspect Diaz. The little known fighter from Tajikistan made some new fans against Diaz.
Multiple news outlets reported on Diaz’s personal problems in 2020. He was charged with a DUI and had numerous legal issues with his management situation. His missed weight on the scale continued his woes, and his performance against Rakhimov at Fantasy Springs Casino almost added to his troubles.
Jojo Diaz fought Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov to a majority draw but now has a lot of questions to answer going forward
Diaz started the fight well and appeared to hurt Rakhimov several times in round 2, but Rakhimov rallied in the middle rounds. He started to gain confidence as he began to score and pick apart Diaz accurately.
Unfortunately for Rakhimov, Diaz’s championship pedigree showed up later in the fight, and he dominated rounds 11 and 12. Rakhimov continued to give it his all, but Diaz’s punch output increased, and Rakhimov looked a little lost in deep waters.
The fight went the distance, and one referee scored the fight 115-113 for Diaz, but the other two scored it 114-114, making the result a majority draw.
The IBF title is vacant, and Diaz has some questions to answer. Even not in his best shape with other issues seeming to weigh on his mind, Diaz still fought adequately at times to hold off a talented fighter in Rakhimov. Diaz is fantastic when focused, but he needs to find direction if he wants to become a champion once again.