Hasim Rahman Jr. has joined the Misfits Boxing tour.
The second-generation heavyweight will face former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort as part of the MF & DAZN: X Series on a October 15 DAZN Pay-Per-View at Utilita Arena in Sheffield, England. The fight was confirmed during the series’ inaugural launch on Saturday, which saw social media influencer and rapper KSI (1-0, 0KOs) earn knockout wins over fellow influencer Swarmz and Mexican journeyman Luis Pineda mere hours apart at The O2 in London.
KSI—whose real name is Olajide William Olatunji—score will serve in a co-promotional capacity on the show but is not presently due to fight.
Speculation swirled of Rahman Jr. (12-1, 6KOs) joining the circuit, as he was in town throughout fight week openly praising the event.
“I see a lot of young faces, that’s the best thing about it,” Rahman said prior to the start of Saturday’s DAZN PPV event. “Anytime you have more eyes on boxing, it’s a positive thing. It’s a positive light. You have these young kids out here who would never know who Canelo is. Never know who Devin Haney is. Never know who is Shakur Stevenson is.
“They’re looking up these guys, seeing how good they are and saying, “My favorite influencer is doing this, let me go ahead and try to do this, too.” It’s definitely a positive light on the sport.”
It’s also positive news for Rahman Jr. who was left without a fight after plans fell apart for a well-publicized showdown with content creator and cruiserweight novice Jake Paul (5-0, 4KOs). The fight was due to headline an August 6 Showtime PPV from Madison Square Garden in New York City, only to fall apart a week out due to a disparity in the final weight agreement.
Rahman agreed to the fight on short notice, replacing England’s Tommy Fury who was unable to secure a travel visa necessary to fly to the U.S. from the U.K. The fight was originally announced to take place at 200 pounds, later modified by the New York State Athletic Commission over concern that Rahman was not shedding weight at a rate that would suggest he could safely make the cruiserweight limit.
The contract was modified to 205 pounds, though talks between camps suggested that Rahman—who’d never weighed less than 211 pounds for a pro fight—was struggling to get below 215 pounds. Paul’s side ultimately pulled the plug on the event, having since rescheduled two of the undercard fighters—Brandun Lee and record-setting seven-division titlist Amanda Serrano—on separate shows. Interestingly, Paul recently revealed that he is also set to return in October, claiming to have secured an opponent who has yet to be revealed.
Meanwhile, Rahman Jr. is moving on with his own career which was barely journeyman status before seeing his name attached to a Jake Paul event. The son of former lineal heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman Sr. is now aligned with one of Paul’s most heated rivals as he prepares for the upcoming event.
Belfort has fought twice as a boxer, though only once in a sanctioned bout.
The 45-year-old Brazilian—who now lives and trains in Boca Raton, Florida—claimed a first-round knockout of Jose Mario Nieves in 2006, a one-fight departure from his 22-year mixed martial arts (MMA) career. He returned to the ring last September, originally due to face International Boxing Hall of Fame former six-division champ Oscar De La Hoya who tested positive for Covid. Belfort went on to face Evander Holyfield, stopping the Hall of Fame former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion at 1:01 of the first round of their exhibition match in Hollywood, Florida.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox