Don't expect Janibek Alimkhanuly to be over-trained going into this weekends bout against Denzel Bentley at the Palm in Las Vegas, in what is his first defense of his WBO middleweight title. As you saw him train at the Brickhouse Boxing last week, his workout lasted less than 45 minutes.
That's the sign of a fighter who is fresh and not grinding himself to make weight.
"He's never completely out of shape, in three weeks he can be ready for a fight with anybody," said his trainer, Buddy McGirt. "I guess it's a gift from God."
On this particularly afternoon in North Hollywood, Alimkhanuly went a few rounds with McGirt on the pads, a couple more on the heavy bag, and then finished up with some work on the the double-end bag. There was no sauna suit in sight. None are needed here.
McGirt lauds Alimkhanuly for his work ethic and hard-nosed mentality. Some of which he believes stems from his background in Kazakhstan.
"Oh, without a doubt, I mean, I don't know how they came up, their upbringing, I don't know what it was but when they come (to America) they have a totally different mindset," explained the respected trainer. "I've seen fighters come from different countries that have a totally different mindset, but then they get here and they start making money -- and they get comfortable.
"They get Americanized, and it's a wrap after that.
There are no such issues, right now he is still very much 'Qazaq Style' in his approach and mindset.
McGirt tells SNAC.com, "He's getting better, he asks a lot of questions, and he listens. If I show him something, he does it.
Alimkhanuly is now the WBO middleweight title. He captured the interim title after blowing out Danny Dignum back in May. Then after Demetrius Andrade decided to vacate the belt, he was then elevated to full championship status.
While Alimkhanuly -- who is rated fifth by Ring Magazine at 160 -- is now a belt-holder and certainly a respected middleweight, a fight versus 'Boo Boo' would have really provided an opportunity for him to make a statement in the division, and elevate his status. Instead, the mercurial Andrade, decided to move up in weight.
"I thought once (Andrade) moved to '68, and once that fell apart, he'd want to pursue the Janibek fight if he stayed at '60, because that would've been some type of pay day," explained Carl Moretti, the VP of Boxing Operations for Top Rank. "But I can't figure it out, I wouldn't want to figure it out."
This is the reality with Alimkhanuly, he's a talented fighter who has a belt, but he is still a guy who doesn't fit the risk/reward quotient for the marquee names in the division.
"The risk is really the opponent, do they really want to fight Janibek?'' stated Moretti. "The reward is a little bit greater because now he has a world title. So that should help some things. Depending on what the circumstances are, and who they it's against, we're open to anything."
'Anything' could be allowing their fighter to fight on other platform, or fighting overseas to move up the boxing food chain.
"It's not like we have to convince our guy to make a fight, or our guy traveling against this guy, or that guy, or 'I don't want to hurt this guy, he's a southpaw, he's with him...' Those issues aren't in play," said Moretti.
Currently the number one ranked contender in the WBO is Jamie Munguia, who in the past has been steered away from title shots by his brain trust. Alimkhanuly-Munguia would be an enticing match-up, but you wonder if Golden Boy Promotions and Zanfer Promotions would pull the trigger on that fight, or look for a more lucrative bout. Munguia has a tune-up fight scheduled for November 19 in Mexico.
"I'd what till after that fight (to call them), and we'd certainly have discussions with Golden Boy on how realistic it is putting it together for the first part of next year," said Moretti.
But there is still some business at hand that Alimkhanuly must focus on.
"My main concern is what we've got to take care of on the 12th," said McGirt.
The co-feature on this card that will be streamed on ESPN+ is Seniesa Estrada, who will defend her WBA minimumweight title against Jazmin Gala Villarino, in what will be her first outing of 2022.
“This is my first fight with Top Rank, and it’s the perfect time in women’s boxing to be with Top Rank and to fight on the ESPN platform," she said. "I’ve had a nearly 11-month layoff, and I felt like I was missing out on all the incredible things happening in the sport. I want to be the best and stay active. Now I’m happy to be back and hopefully go for those big unification fights that I’ve wanted and ultimately become an undisputed champion.”
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
The telegenic Estrada is rated number seven in the Ring Magazine female pound-for-pound ratings, and is part of the renaissance of woman's boxing, which had made significant strides this year.
“Growing up, I didn’t have a role model to look up to in women’s boxing. Being in a position where I can inspire younger women is great. It makes all of my struggles worth it. That’s what I do it for, to inspire the next generation of women who want to accomplish great things," said the native of East LA.
Estrada (22-0/ 9KOs) is boxer who is both flashy and fundamentally sound, and has scored some eye-opening KO's in recent fights. She is also a skilled counter-puncher on Twitter.
Yeah, 'Super Bad' is skilled and sassy.
While she is defending her minimumweight title this weekend, she has designs of moving up and conquering other divisions
“I believe I am the best fighter at minimumweight, light flyweight, and flyweight. My goal is to conquer all three divisions. I want to win all the belts at 105, then go to 108 and 112."
Sunny Edwards defends his IBF flyweight title against Felix Alvarado on Friday on FITE TV....On the Top Rank undercard on Saturday is Emiliano Vargas, Raymond Muratalla and Karlos Balderas (who also works with McGirt)...Meanwhile on DAZN, they have Montana Love-Stevie Spark from Cleveland, Ohio....Really enjoyed the Willie Mays documentary on HBO.... I can be reached at email@example.com....