Barthelemy aims to make title statement versus Shafikov

The 29 year-old, who is undefeated in 23 bouts, has impressed in his two bouts at the higher weight following on from his double defence of the 130lb belt that Barthelemy eventually relinquished in early 2015.

A latest triumph against former world lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco cemented Barthelemy’s chance to further enhance his status in the sport and ‘Kid Blast’ fully intends to put Shafikov in his place when the pair lock horns at Barclays Center.

“The preparation is already going well now that we are two months away from completing training camp,” Barthelemy told World Boxing News.

“Of course, we know all opponents are tough, but I think I will be perfectly fine at 135 as I prepare myself for any type of plan that may present itself to me from my opponent.

“I believe a win against Shafikov will signify the start of something big in my life and my career. I am focused on winning this second title and then see what options I have. For the moment, I am only focused on Shafikov.”

Opponent Shafikov, 30, has fully recovered from suffering a maiden career defeat against Miguel Vazquez in 2014 when attempting to claim the IBF title initially, but the Russian now gets a second opportunity on the back of three straight victories.