Earlier today MTK announced that unbeaten world ranked Middleweight contender Janibek Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5) [Жанибек Алимханулы] would be back in the ring on February 27th in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The talented Kazakh, who was last seen scoring a brilliant KO over Gonzalo Gaston Coria on a Top Rank show last October, is currently the WBO "Global" champion at Middleweight and is banging on the door for a major bout. In fact as we write this he is world ranked by all 4 title bodies, and in the top 5 of both the WBO and WBC rankings.
Sadly at the time of writing Alimkhanuly's opponent for his February bout hasn't been announced though if we're being honest it does seem to make sense to give him a bit of a stay busy fight. That's not to suggest he gets an easy one, but the mind set will be that he's on the verge of something big and it'll be better for him to tick over and keep ring rust off whilst continuing to knock on the door of a world title fight. After all he has been calling for a major fight and it's unlikely he'll manage to lure a world champion of to Kazakhstan for this bout.
Incidentally this bout will see Alimkhanuly return to a Kazakh ring for the first in over 3 years. He debuted at home in 2016 and fought his second bout in Kazakhstan, but since then he has fought entirely in the US. Since those early bouts he has genuinely developed into a very good professional and recent performances against Coria, Albert Onolunose, Stuard McLellan and Cristian Olivas, have been impressive.
For fans wanting to watch it will be shown on ESPN+ in the US and streamed worldwide on IFL TV.
In October we saw unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5) [Жанибек Алимханулы] score his latest win, knocking out Argentinian foe Gonzalo Gaston Coria (16-4, 6) in 2 rounds at MGM Grand as a fight that took place in the Top Rank Bubble.
Sadly for those hoping to see Alimkhnuly again this year he will not be squeezing in another fight.
The fighter took to social media to informed his fans and followers about his plans for the rest of the year, explaining "Dear fans! Our team has gone on vacation. We were informed that there will be no fights this year. We are planning to return to the ring early next year,"
Whilst it's a huge shame that we won't see the unbeaten Middleweight in the ring again this year, and that his 2 rounds with Coria was his in ring action for the year, it does seem likely that Top Rank will have big plans for him in 2021. Hopefully that means an easy-ish bout early in the year before a big one towards the middle of the year, perhaps even a world title fight.
At the time of writing Alimkhnauly is world ranked by all 4 world title bodies. He has called out WBO champion Demetrius Andrade in the past, the same Andrade who is happy to claim he's being ducked whilst having at least two WBO ranked fighters calling for a fight with him. He is also promoted by Top Rank just like WBA champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太], in what would be a genuinely interesting fight, though is unlikely given that Top Rank are looking to secure career defining opponents and big names for the aging Murata.
Just moments ago in the bubble unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5) [Жанибек Алимханулы] made a statement as he knocked out Argentinian foe Gonzalo Gaston Coria (16-4, 6) in 2 rounds.
The talented Kazakh showed his class in round 1. He showed how comfortable he was in the ring, and fought smartly, putting Coria down with a nice left hand counter. He looked calm and didn't really break a sweat in what was a very comfortable opening 3 minutes.
And then Alimkhanuly turned heads in round 2.
He started out a bit more aggressively and guided Coria where he wanted before landing a series of big head shots. The series was ended with a dynamite left hand that dropped Coria like sack of potatoes. The shot was brutal and Coria had no idea where he was in the moments that followed, as the referee began a count, then waved off the bout.
It was a brutal finish against a tough opponent, and a real statement by a man who has spent the last year or so calling for a major fight. It was a performance that screamed "give me a test", and now, hopefully, Top Rank will give him someone worthy of sharing the ring with him.
It's worth noting that, prior to this, Coria had never been stopped, and few would have expected such a blow out, even those anticipating a stoppage for Alimkhnauly. This was impressive. Not just in the speed of it the stoppage, but also the brutality of it.
Later today unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) [Жанибек Алимханулы] will face Gonzalo Gaston Coria (16-3, 6), with the talented Kazakh looking to secure his latest win and move one step closer to a potential world title bout.
Last night the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men comfortably made the Middleweight limit.
On the scales Alimkhanuly was around 159lbs whilst Coria was just under 158lbsm both easily making the divisional limit, with no issues at all.
The bout, which will be held in "The Bubble" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, will be shown on ESPN+ in the US, FITE TV in the various regions including the UK, and Khabar TV in Kazakhstan.
For those with a gambling side, this bout has been priced up by a number of bookmakers. In the UK those bookmakers have Alimkhanuly as an almost unbackable favourite, best priced at 1/16, whilst Coria is an 11/1 under-dog. The draw is available at 33/1.
Not only is Alimkhanuly expected to win, but he's expected to win early, with odds of 1/2 on a stoppage win for the Kazakh fighter, whilst a decision for Alimkhanuly is 15/8. Coria is 16/1 to win by stoppage, and the same odds to take the decision win. We'll be honest it's a little surprising to see those odds given that Coria has never been stopped, though this is clearly a big step up in class for him.
Although Alimkhanuly is expected to win by stoppage the bout is expected to go into the middle-rounds. The "Length of Bout" market has been set at 6.5 rounds. The under is best priced at 5/6 whilst the over is available at 68/67. The bout is 7/4 to go the distance and 4/9 to end inside the schedule.
Earlier today Vest.kz reported that the unbeaten Kanat Islam (27-0, 21) [Ислам Канат] has seen his return to the ring being delayed.
Originally Islam had been pencilled in to fight on October 16th in Florida against Gonzalo Gaston Coria (16-3, 6). That bout fell through when Coria accepted a bout with Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) [Жанибек Алимханулы], which will take place tomorrow.
According to Vest.kz Islam was also unable to face the opponent that the promoter had wanted as a back up, Jesus Gurrola (27-15-3, 14), who has been unable to obtain a visa in time.
As a result of these delays it will likely see Islam pass the year mark between fights, with his last contest coming on October 26th 2019, when he struggled to a controversial decision win over Walter Kautondokwa in Kazakhstan. In that bout he suffered an injury which delayed his return to the ring, which has now been delayed again here.
Having now turned 36 it's hard to imagine Islam ever living up to the early potential he showed, and sadly it seems like his career will end up being an under whelming one, damaged, in part, by repeated injuries and long lay offs.
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