The IBF have ordered a fight between Rakhimov and Ogawa for the newly vacant IBF 130 pound title. These are still the two highest rated contenders as Rakhimov was number one and just fought to a draw while fighting for the title and Kenichi Ogawa is ranked third which is the next highest. The number two spot is currently vacant but Azinga Fuzile versus Martin Ward will likely get ordered for a mandatory spot.
I think Rakhimov versus Ogawa is a good fight and i’m glad the IBF have been quick with ordering a fight for the title as it’s never good when a belt remains vacant for too long. My early lean is that Rakhimov will win and perhaps by stoppage at that as Ogawa isn’t quite on his level and has struggled versus inferior opponents recently. Ogawa also failed a drug test after his 2017 win over Tevin Farmer so you have to wonder what type of fighter he is without the use of PED’s.
The different parties have 30 days to negotiate and come to a deal or the fight will be ordered to purse bids. This fight could potentially go to either Japan or Russia as both fighters have sizable promoters behind them. Ogawa has the renowned Teiken Promotions backing him while Rakhimov has RCC promotions behind him. Both of these promoters are arguably the biggest ones in their respective countries so it will be interesting if it goes to purse bids. I have a suspicion that they will agree a deal for the fight to be in Russia as Rakhimov has the bigger upside and after Rakhimov going on the road in his last two fights while performing well you’d think he’d get a big fight in his native country now. in Ogawa’s last title fight where he fought for the vacant IBF world title belt he went on the road to America so perhaps history will repeat slightly again and he will travel for his title shot.