Russian lightweights Rustam Nugaev and Denis Shafikov will meet in a world title eliminator in the main event of the Aug. 15 edition of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.
The winner of the bout, which will take place at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, will become the mandatory challenger for titleholder Miguel Vazquez (34-3, 13 KOs) of Mexico.
I have been trying to get Rustam in an important fight for one year now, promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN.com on Wednesday. The IBF had a hard time getting anyone to accept the fight for No. 1, as they know how tough Nugaev is. This is a very tough fight against a very tough fighter, and I expect a war. I was happy to be able to make this fight.
Nugaev (27-6-1, 17 KOs), 31, is riding a six-fight winning streak, including an impressive fourth-round knockout of former title challenger Marvin Quintero on March 7.
The 29-year-old Shafikov (33-1-1, 18 KOs), a southpaw, got a world title opportunity in his last fight but lost a unanimous decision to Vazquez on Feb. 22 in Macau.
Junior lightweight prospect Jose Pedraza (17-0, 11 KOs), 25, of Puerto Rico is ticketed for the co-feature against an opponent to be determined.