Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 KO’s) will make the sixth defense of the IBF lightweight title, meeting undefeated Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18 KO’s) in Macao, China on February 22nd. The card also features an International featherweight title bout between Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12 KO’s) and Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14 KO’s), and will also showcase Japans Olympic hero, undefeated flyweight Zou Shiming (3-0) in an eight round contest. This will be Vazquez’s first ring appearance in over a years’ time.
Vazquez scored a convincing decision over Ji-Hoon Kim in August of 2010 to win the vacant title, and has successfully defended the belt six times since, including wide 12 round decisions over previously undefeated challengers Lenny Zappavigna and former NABO lightweight title holder Mercito Gesta.
An undefeated southpaw, Shafikov has held a slew of regional titles: the IBO Inter-continental, WBA Inter-continental, EBU, WBC Baltic, and IBF International at light welterweight, and recently he won the WBC Baltic and WBC CISBB (Slovenian) titles in the lightweight division. In August he stopped WBA super featherweight title challenger Santos Benavides in seven rounds.
In an interview with Fightnews.com, Vazquez said of Shafikov “I know I’m up against a very, very tough fighter. I’ve seen his videos and I had the opportunity to spar with him. He’s very, very strong. Good defense. But he’s not invincible and I’ve trained to beat him.” Vazquez also stated that the two had sparred about a year ago.