He has one division world title to his credit. But Rances Barthelemy has loftier goals.
The undefeated Cuban lightweight and former world super featherweight champion wants to win world titles in multiple weight classes. He goes after his second belt Friday night when he faces Denis Shafikov at the Palms for the vacant International Boxing Federation lightweight title.
“This is what I hope will be the second of four or five different weight classes as champion,” Barthelemy said through an interpreter. “That’s my ultimate goal.”
If he’s going to accomplish his goals, Barthelemy (23-0, 13 knockouts) is going to have to get busy. He’s 29 years old and he’ll likely be pursuing a junior welterweight title fight in early 2016 should he win Friday in the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions card which will be televised on Spike TV.
To beat Shafikov, who is 36-1-1 with 19 KOs, Barthelemy plans to use his superior speed and boxing skills.
“I’m ready to adjust to whatever he tries to do,” Barthelemy said. “I don’t have a problem adjusting. But I think he’s going to want to try and fight me on the inside and try and use his power.”
Barthelemy said he doesn’t pay attention to how he is perceived. He knows himself better than anyone and he’s confident in his abilities.
“I try not to get overconfident by what other people are saying,” he said. “I just keep my focus on what I’m doing.”
Barthelemy is coming off an impressive performance June 21 when he dominated veteran Antonio DeMarco in winning a 10-round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden in what was his PBC debut. He said he left the ring that day confident he can do battle with anyone in the lightweight division.
“I liked the way I dominated the ring, set the tone for the fight and how I kept my distance,” he said. “It definitely helped my confidence.
“Frankly, I was surprised with how I was able to handle him so easily.”
The fight, which was televised by CBS, also gave Barthelemy some welcomed exposure, both in North America as well as back home in his native Cuba.
“It was good for my career,” he said. “People who have never seen me fight now know who I am and are now fans of mine, which I’m very happy about.
“In Cuba, the people are always attentive to what goes on in boxing. They follow my career very closely and I am glad I was able to give them a victory.”
Barthelemy also said the move to Al Haymon and being part of the PBC is working out fine.
“I have no complaints,” he said. “Al Haymon has delivered everything he promised and he’s helped my career tremendously with all this exposure and a chance to fight for a world title.”
Who: Rances Barthelemy vs. Denis Shafikov.
What: Vacant International Boxing Federation lightweight title.
When: First bell is 3 p.m.
When: The Palms.
TV: 6 p.m. on Spike.
* Mickey Bey (21-1-1, 10 KOs) vs. Naim Nelson (12-0, 1 KO) in a 10-round lightweight bout. This is Bey’s first ring appearance in 15 months after a hand injury and proposed fights fell out on him which prevented him from competing.
* Ishe Smith (27-8, 12 KOs), former IBF junior middleweight champ who is fighting for the first time since losing to Vanes Martirosyan on Sept. 12 at the Grand Garden, vs. Tommy Rainone (24-6-1, 5 KOs) in a 10-round junior middleweight bout.