Dropping Mukhlis in the second, Shafikov earned the victory from a barrage of punches resulting in referee Katsuhiko Nakamura stopping the bout at the 1:14 mark of the stanza.
“I felt terrific from the start, I was too strong for him and my body punches hurt him,” said Shafikov. “I’m glad to get the win and I look forward to fighting for the world title in my next fight.”
“I’m getting better in each camp with my trainer Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, California.”
The International Boxing Federation (‘IBF’) stripped titlist Mickey Bey of its lightweight title after he twice refused to face Shafikov over the last three months.
Bey initially agreed to defend his title on April 30 and again this past Saturday, however Shafikov will now follow the instructions of the IBF to face junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy for the vacant title.
“We will immediately start on Denis’s world title fight with Barthelemy,” said Leo Khorolinsky, manager of Shafikov. “Mickey Bey wasted our time this year with his unprofessional conduct, he never wanted to face Denis in a fight that he knew he couldn’t win.”
“We’re very happy that Denis’ promoter Top Rank was able to have him fight on this card and we look forward to working with them and Ural Boxing Promotions on the world title fight against Barthelemy. We feel Denis is the best lightweight in the world and look forward to giving him the opportunity to prove that.”