By: Hans Themistode
Quietly but assuredly, Janibek Alimkhanuly has made his way up the middleweight ranks. The 28-year-old Kazakhstan native wrapped up a banner 2021 with a one-sided stoppage win over former middleweight champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.
Though N’Jikam has been both durable and respected throughout his career, the 37-year-old was out of his league against Alimkhanuly. After hitting the deck in the third round of their contest at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Alimkhanuly spent the duration of their contest punishing his man, resulting in an eighth-round stoppage.
Shortly following the win, Alimkhanuly was elevated by the WBO as its mandatory challenger to current belt holder Demetrius Andrade. The 33-year-old slick-hitting champion first captured his world title in 2018. Since then, Andrade has run through his competition, successfully defending his crown five times, three of which came before the final bell.
Most recently, Andrade made quick work of fringe contender Jason Quigley, violently stopping him in the second at the SNHU Arena in Manchester. Despite how impressive Andrade has looked throughout his career, Alimkhanuly is confident that a showdown between them would be incredibly one-sided.
“Everyone knows that I will knock out Andrade,” said Alimkhanuly on his social media account. “This will be the easiest fight of my career.”
Although the highly ranked contender is extremely confident in his ability to strip Andrade of his WBO title, the long-time belt holder has his eyes set on showdowns against more established names. For a number of years now, Andrade has urged current WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, and undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, to step into the ring against him.
But, despite the persistent callouts, Andrade has yet to land the sort of career-defining fight he craves. If Andrade ditches his plans and opts to face Alimkhanuly, not only does his mandated title challenger believe he’ll win convincingly but according to Bob Arum, promoter of Alimkhanuly, the Kazakhstan star will prove that his name should be the only one mentioned when discussing the best middleweights in the sport.
“Kazakhstan-born warrior Janibek Alimkhanuly, who will fight for the WBO middleweight title early next year, will make his mark in 2022,” said Arum “He is the best 160-pounder in the world.”
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