Alimkhanuly struggles, but retains WBO title

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Unbeaten WBO middleweight champion Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KOs) scored a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision over Denzel Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night inside the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Bentley gave 20:1 favorite Alimkhanuly all he could handle the entire fight. Alimkhanuly finally rocked Bentley in the final round. Scores were 116-112, 116-112, 118-110.

“It’s boxing,” said Alimkhanuly afterward. “Anything can happen in the ring. He came prepared. I respect my opponent because he was prepared. He was 100 percent, but I am a champion and I fought all 12 rounds as a champion…I am ready for any champion, for unifications. I am ready. Let’s fight.”

Janibek’s trainer Buddy McGirt added, “Listen, he’s world champion, and I still say he’s the best middleweight. I’m taking nothing away from {Bentley} because he came and I told Janibek before the fight, ‘He has everything to gain and nothing to lose. So, he’s going to put on the line.’ He did what he had to do to retain his title.”

Bentley stated, “I thought I was in the fight. In the fifth round, my coach told me we weren’t in front and to pick up the pace, so I picked up the pace.”

This was the first title defense for Alimkhanuly, who was elevated from interim champion after Demetrius Andrade elected to move up in weight rather than fight him.

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  • Bentley did much better than I thought he would. Finally got to see Alim actually tested. MAYBE Munguia takes the fight now.

  • Alim was exposed a bit tonight. He doesn’t seem to have the greatest variety of punches, and can be hit. Great effort from Bently. Fun fight for sure. This performance should help Alim landed some of the fights that have eluded him so far…

  • First time watching Janibek fight live and me personally I’m not impressed. I think he loses to Charlo, GGG, Minguia and Andrade.

  • From what i seen, Janibek goes down in 2! against the other champs. WTF did Andrade duck this cat?

    • Andrade didn’t duck the fight. There was no money in it. Rival promoters, neither guy is a draw. It would go to purse bid and the amount would be probably a third of what Matchroom was paying him to fight Quigley. It’s pure business. Why would someone take less money to do a harder job. Makes no sense.

  • Bentley will prove to be much better fighter than any of you are giving him credit for! He was hit with some hellacious flush shots and was only hurt in the final round, and even then, he weathered the storm. Jenibek will also prove to be the best middleweight out there over the next 2 years.

  • Bentley proved to be quite a difficult can for Alimkhanuly to open.

    The strength of a gameplan often lies in its simplicity.

    And Bentley didn’t make things unnecessarily complicated in the ring. He often managed to wait out Alimkhanuly and keep him at a distance with straight punches.

    But a boxer with Alimkhanuly’s background and ambitions must be able to handle a boxer like Bentley in a better way. Things went better when Alimkhanuly picked up the pace. At the same time, his inability to solve the problem of Bentley’s style was striking.

    Winning fights where not everything goes as planned is also a greatness a champion needs.

    Still, I think this fight exposed Alimkhanuly by showing that the creativity and technical ability is not quite what it should be for the big future.

  • He is being criticized but he needed this fight. He had yet to go 12 rounds. He will improve. He has limited experience. Pump the breaks

  • This is the problem when a guy bulldozes everyone set in front of him then finally runs into a guy trying to win and has some skill and a good chin. OMG he’s been exposed. Of course Top Rank is going to build this guy up to be a 160 pound King Kong because that is what promoters do. And Alim probably has been reading his own press too much. He won clearly but he figured he was going to walk through this guy and he found himself a tough customer. Still don’t think Mungia takes the fight when other belts may wind up vacant soon if GGG retires or gives them up voluntarily

  • Smith, That Irish African, Williams, Eubanks and of course Cash, are better Brit fighters than Bentley, yet this guy had so much trouble with him. There are always excuses when these guys are proven hype jobs. Charlo, Andrade and co. did not fight the guy, because there is no money in it, the guy does not have a huge fanbase. I definitely think with his coming forward style, he would be stopped by “cherry picker” Mungia. Bentley was a “cherry pick” that was almost a huge mistake.

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