By: Sean Crose
The WBO’s middleweight champ, Demetrius Andrade, has been ordered by the sanctioning body to face contender Janinek Alimkhanuly as a mandatory next opponent. Although this means the highly skilled Rhode Islander won’t get the kind of big name opponent he’s longed to face (someone with the name of Charlo, for instance, or Golovkin), he’s going to be facing a legit opponent nonetheless. Fighting out of Oxnard, California, Kazakhstan native Alimkhanuly has an impressive record of 11-0 with 7 knockouts to his name. His last fight was a eighth round stoppage of Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam several weeks ago in Las Vegas.
As for the 31 year old Andrade, the world titlist impressed a lot of people when he crushed Jason Quigley several weeks back in New Hampshire. The 2 round destruction of Quigley reminded many of just how good the 33 year old Andrade is. Although he’s never fought one of the bigger names at middleweight – at least not yet – Andrade has been able to more or less easily best all comers. The fact that popular fighters aren’t exactly lining up to face the man may be an indication of just how wary of Andrade some potential opponents may be.
Don’t expect Alimkhanuly to be wary, though. This is the chance of a lifetime for the 28 year old. Having stopped all five of his last opponents within the distance, the fighter is riding high. Just how high? High enough for his camp to have requested, and been granted, the WBO mandatory contender position. With an Olympic pedigree behind him (he fought in the 2016 Olympics for Kazakhstan), Alimkhanuly no doubt likes his chances walking into a battle with Andrade. Whether or not he can best the fighter nicknamed “Boo Boo,” on the other hand, is another matter.
If a deal isn’t made within the next 20 days, the camps for both fighters will see things settled in a purse bid starting at $200,000 dollars. That means any promotional outlet approved by the WBO can bid for the right to promote the bout. Should Andrade ultimately emerge victorious from his fight with Alimkhanuly, he will prove – once again – that he’s ready to get it on with one of the game’s bigger names. Should Alimkhanuly win, on the other hand, the boxing world will once again be rocked by a major upset. Andrade-Alimkhanuly is certainly a fight of interest, but it would be nice to see Andrade face an opponent of note before the aging process begins to take it’s toll on his considerable skill set.
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