Yesterday talented and unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) scored his latest win, as he scored a brilliant KO victory over Argentina's Gonzalo Gaston Coria (16-3, 6) and took his chance to make a statement. To date Alimkhanuly had been inconsistent in the professional ranks, and had needed a real standout performance.
Everyone knew he was talented, but it seemed that he had been struggling to show just how good he was. He had been calling out the big names at Middleweight, but had no hype and no there was no reason to fight him. He had nothing behind him, and he was very much high risk, no reward, for the top guys. After last night however there is hype, momentum and people talking about him thanks to a KO of the year contender.
With all that now said, lets take a look at what we took away from last nights bouts.
1-Alimkhanuly looked super sharp
Straight from the opening bell Janibek Alimkhanuly looked razor sharp, his punching, his movement, his foot work, his countering, everything seemed on point straight from the off. This did not look like a man who had been out of the ring since last November. This looked like someone who had been keep busy with tick over bouts and was ready to step up and make a statement. He looked fantastic and it's clear that everything is coming together for him after some underwhelming performances earlier in his career. It now appears he has firmly settled into a professional style, got one that suits him, and his attributes.
2-Coria wasn't there to make up the numbers
Argentina's Gonzalo Gaston Coria was a legitimate opponent. He was there to win. He had never been stopped before and had given a very tough night to former 2-time world title challenger Artur Akavov. He was there for his own career and to progress things himself. Unfortunately for him he was in with a really talented fighter with a point to prove. Coria was a legitimate opponent, but was sadly up against someone with the ability to go all the way, very quickly. Don't write off Coria as a legitimate fighter after this loss, because, although he lost quickly, he is still a good fighter and will be a good test for other prospects and fringe contenders.
Given the way he was destroyed it's now time that Alimkhanuly started to share the ring with former world title challengers, current contenders and work his way towards a world title fight in the next 12-18 months.
3-Man that KO!
We seriously doubt we are the only ones who have watched that finishing sequence over and over. The right hand that wobbled and shook Coria was a great one, but the left hand that finished the show was something special. It landed hard, clean, fast, and sent Coria crashing to the canvas in spectacular fashion. This was up there with the best KO's we've seen this year, and whilst it's no THE KO of the Year, it's certainly going to be in the shortlist. Fantastic show.
Also whilst an amazing fight can go viral it's much easier for a KO to go viral, and we think this is the sort of KO that will be played over, and over, and over online.
4-ESPN were playing silly buggers
From our understanding this was supposed to be on ESPN+, but from what we're hearing it wasn't and was instead on ESPN News, though we're sure someone in the comments can correct us. Whatever it was on it seemed to end up being missed by a lot of American fans who missed out on a chance to see one of the top Kazakh prospects show what he can do in sensational fashion. We're not sure if this was ESPN's fault or Top Rank's fault but whoever is to blame have just squandered what would have been a great bout to get people talking about a rising Middleweight contender. Lets have this sort of stuff sorted before a bout starts folks! If you want to get eyes on a fighter let fight fans know where he is fighting. We understand there was American Football being shown, but this still feels like a huge, huge missed opportunity given the rest of the under-card had been shown on one channel before this bout seemingly saw the broadcast chance.
Also big thumbs up to Khabar TV for showing it live in Kazakhstan!
5-Celestino Ruiz still fills us with dread
There are some fantastic referees in boxing. Sadly there others who are terrible, and very few fill us with dread as much as Celestino Ruiz. The thing is Ruiz isn't a terrible referee, honestly he's not, there's much, much worse. But unfortunately when he's in the ring he still fills us with dread, and we continue to remember the absolutely fuckery of the 2013 bout between Artur Szpilka and Mike Mollo, which saw Ruiz really screw the bout up. We all have bad nights, and Ruiz's bad nights aren't that common in fairness, but that one bout has left a real permanent mark in our mind and it's one that is likely never going away.
It also doesn't help when we see Ruiz counting after a knockdown like this one. He didn't need to, the bout was over, call it off buddy and let Coria get medical help.
Note - We have gone with the spelling of "Janibek" and not "Zhanibek" due to it being how Kazakh TV and how himself has his name listed on his Instagram.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).