Joseph Diaz Jr. (31-1, 15 KOs) and Shavkat Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs) hosted their final press conference today at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino ahead of their 12-round fight for Diaz Jr.’s IBF Junior Lightweight Championship.
The fight, which will headline a stacked card of action, will take place this Saturday, Feb. 13 and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN in more than 200 countries and territories, including the U.S., Mexico, Russia, Tajikistan, Brazil and Argentina.
Below is what both fighters had to say at the presser:
Joseph Diaz Jr, IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion:
“I’m focused on going out there and performing at my best. I want to entertain fight fans and show them what I am all about. I want to show that I am the best at 130 pounds.”
“It’s been a year-long layoff, but it’s been a great year-long layoff. I was able to witness the birth of my son, and I was able to spend some time away from boxing. I was able to enjoy life as a normal person.”
“But now I have this tough challenger ahead of me. We’ve taken this fight very seriously. We know exactly what he is all about. We know what he’s capable of doing, and we know he is a serious threat, but we know we’ll be able to adapt to anything on Saturday night.”
“I don’t feel like I get the respect that I deserve in this division. In my career in general, I haven’t gotten the respect that I deserve. But it’s all good. I’ve already dealt with so much adversity in my life. I’m already immune to it. I just focus on training as hard as I can to get the job done that night.”
“I faced a bit of adversity in the Gary Russell Jr. fight. I learned a lot that night. But I won’t let anything else prevent me from being what I want to be and doing what I want to do I the ring.”
“I’m ready for anything this Saturday. I’m ready for anything that he will bring to the table. If he thinks he will come in here and overwhelm me with his power–that is not going to happen. I’m strong and I’m big just like him. I will be able to take his shots and give them back. I worked my ass off to get this belt, and I’m not letting go.”
Shavkat Rakhimov, World Title Challenger:
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. My dream has finally come true, so I am very glad.”
“Our game plan this Saturday is to do anything possible to win the fight. The key is to do anything that needs to be done to win. Diaz is going to be in for a big surprise on Saturday.”
“JoJo is a good boxer. But he will not be able to handle my power.”