By: Sean Crose
He owns the WBO world middleweight title but is largely unknown outside the world of hardcore fight fans. This despite the fact the man has twelve wins against zero losses, eight of those wins having come before the final bell. Make no mistake about it, Janibek Alimkhanuly is under the radar as far as world champions go. He’s looking to change all that, however. The Top Rank promoted fighter will be plying his trade Saturday night at the Palms Resort and Casino in Vegas. Alimkhanuly’s opponent this weekend will be the widely unknown Denzel Bentley. Alimkhanuly looks to impresses, though Bentley, with a record of seventeen wins versus just one loss and a draw, is obviously looking to shock the fight world.
With that being said, Alimkhanuly isn’t particularly happy with the current state of the fight game. “I don’t know why nowadays champions don’t want to fight with the other champions,” he said at the last press conference before this weekend’s fight. “I don’t think they should be afraid. I am here. I am a champion now. I am here to fight the champions. Hopefully, Top Rank can organize a fight with another world champion next.”
With that being said, there appears to be a consensus that the division’s other world champions, IBF and WBA titlist Gennady Golovkin, and WBC titlist Jermall Charlo, aren’t too thrilled at the prospect of facing a fighter as little known and as talented as Alimkhanuly. It’s a common problem in the fight game, one Golovkin felt himself when he was younger. Marvin Hagler, perhaps the greatest middleweight in history, also had a very rough patch before he finally got to face name opponents. Provided he keeps on winning, Alimkhanuly might well go the route of Golovkin and Hagler, which means making it uncomfortable for fighters to avoid him.
In the meantime the six foot tall Kazakh must continue to win and to win impressively. Avoided fighters always run the risk of giving potential opposition an excuse to avoid them. A rough performance against Bentley on Saturday, or worse yet, a loss, would certainly put a spoke in the wheel of Alimkhanuly’s career trajectory. Not that the 29 year old intends for something like that to happen.
“Today I looked into the eyes of the opponent,” he tweeted late on Thursday. “He has no fire! He knows who is in front of him. He knows the Qazaq style well. I will knock him out inshallah. Before the fight, many boxers don’t want to say anything. I am different, I will say and I will do what I said inshallah!”
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