Joseph “Jojo” Diaz Jr. was fighting for his future against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov on Saturday night at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., because he came in 3.6 pounds overweight and was forced to relinquish his IBF junior lightweight title.
His future was hanging in the balance, but Diaz roared back to secure a majority draw with Rakhimov (115-113 Diaz, 114-114, 114-114). DAZN News scored the fight 115-113 for Diaz. Due to the result, the IBF belt remains vacant.
“I’m not disappointed at all. I know who I am,” Diaz said in his post-fight interview. “I work hard, man, I’m a hard worker. I’m a disciplined fighter.”
“It just wasn’t my night. I couldn’t make the weight like I used to. They don’t have no sauna here, they had me walking around my room with the fucking heater on. It was completely different to how a professional, world title fight should be. I had to try to adapt to it, but my body just felt weak and I couldn’t do it. My health is more important. I still came out here and fought, and I’m not gonna risk my life trying to make the weight, really deplete myself and get hurt in the ring. There’s no need to fucking please anybody. I’m doing this for myself and my family. That’s the person that I need to look out for, myself and nobody else.”
Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) started out trying to go for the finish by countering Rakhimov. But Diaz slowed down a bit, and Rakimov (15-0-1, 12 KOs) took advantage in the middle rounds. He came out firing hard left hands, stunning Diaz on more than one occasion.
Entering the ninth round, Rakhimov appeared to be a couple of rounds away from winning his first major world title. To Diaz’s credit, he showed championship mettle by being the aggressor and the better boxer to wear Rakhimov down, as the final horn sounded for the draw.
It is unknown what will be next for Diaz and Rakhimov. A rematch with the belt on the line would make the most sense.