Rustam Nugaev (27-6-1, 17 KOs) has officially signed to fight Russia’s Denis Shafikov (33-1-1, 18 KOs) in a 12-round IBF elimination bout. The fight will air live on ESPN “Friday Night Fights” and will take place at Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif., on August 15, 2014.
Nugaev, who hails from Perm, Russia, but now resides in Southern California, is thrilled at the opportunity to once again showcase his talents on ESPN. Nugaev is ranked IBF #5, WBC #3 and WBA #7. A victory against Shafikov will certainly put him in position to fight for the IBF world title, against current champion, Richar Abril.
“I’m very happy that my promoter Gary Shaw is making this fight happen, especially on ESPN “Friday Night Fights”, said Nugaev. “Since I’ve returned from Russia to the United States, I’ve had five knockouts in a row. I feel I’m a much better fighter now compared to early in my career. Whoever stands in my way of becoming a world champion, I will destroy. Against Shafikov, I will show the world why I deserve to fight for a world championship.”
Denis Shafikov is coming off his first professional loss, a unanimous decision defeat to IBF Lightweight Champion, Miguel Vasquez (34-3, 13 KOs). He’ll be looking to get back in the win column against Nugaev with the hopes of getting another world title shot.
“I learned some valuable lessons in my loss to Vasquez,” said Shafikov. “Nugaev is a very tough opponent and I must stick to my game plan to be victorious. He’s never been in the ring with a fighter of my magnitude so I’m confident in my ability to come out victorious. I have the edge in experience and will use it to my advantage. I’m very excited to be fighting on ESPN, the exposure will be fantastic.”
“Everyone was ducking Nugaev so I’m happy Shafikov accepted the challenge,” said Gary Shaw. “I also want to thank the IBF ratings committee for honoring their word on making this fight an elimination bout. Nugaev is a remarkable fighter, who I believe will become world champion by the end of the year. First he must get past Shafikov, who is a very tough fighter. The fans will enjoy this fight. Everyone should be tuning in.”