This coming Saturday we'll see unbeaten men collide as Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7) and Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8) clash for the WBO "interim" Middleweight title, which is likely to be upgraded when Demetrius Andrade officially leaves the division and campaign full time at 168lbs.
Of the two men the more impressive is the 29 year old Alimkhanuly, who has began shining in recent bouts, putting things together and beating notable names in the form of Rob Brant and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. Prior to really breaking out Alimkhanuly had long been regarded as something of a hidden gem that just hadn't quite clicked as a professional. He had been a stellar amateur, and a lot of his amateur traits remained in the early part of his career, particularly in his wins over the likes of Carlos Galvan, Vaughn Alexander and Cristian Olivas. To his credit though it appears those bouts served as his apprenticeship to the professional scene, and his more recent wins have seen him showing more class, more killer instinct and a real bit of spite. His win over Gonzalo Gaston Coria showed that spite, with 2020 KO of the year contender, whilst his wins over Rob Brant and Hassan N'Dam saw him stopping two former world champions and going about it in a methodical and almost sadastic fashion, beating them up round after round, whilst barely taking anything in return.
In the ring Alimkhanuly is a sensationally talented boxer. He's never going to go down as a KO artist, but his shots have venom and get opponents respect. He combines high levels skills with impressive speed, a fluidity to his boxing, and a brain that thinks a few steps ahead. He's not going to take risks, or be the most exciting of fighters, but he is going to be a danger man to the division due to his ring IQ, his consistency, and his skills, which are very high level. He takes his time, he allows himself to settle and then chips away at opponents, using educated and intelligent pressure, behind his crisp clean punches. To top it all off, he's also a southpaw, making him even more of a nightmare for opponents, and allowing him to set things up from awkward angles and catch opponent from angles they aren't used to. Against a top pressure fighter, with quick feet he may struggle, but against those who try to box it's hard to see many in the division out boxing him.
Aged 30 English fighter Danny Dignum is also an unbeaten Southpaw. His competition has, however, been a lot less notable than that of Alimkhanuly with his best results being a draw with Andrey Sirotkin last year, and wins over the likes of Grant Dennis, Alfredo Meli, Conrad Cummings and Rafal Jackiewicz. In fact they are his only wins over fighters with winning records. Despite that he will know that he's expected to be the under-dog, and the pressure is on Alimkhanuly to shine, and the focus will be, in many ways, on the Kazakh allowing Dignum to focus on himself and his fight, rather than what's going on outside of himself.
In the ring Dignum is a fight who likes to come forward, stalking his opponents and get inside. He's a patient stalker in many ways and does have some nice counter punching in his arsenal. He is however a bit predictable. He doesn't mix things up too much, and despite having nice counters he does seem a bit pedestrian, without too much sharpness or fluidity to his work. In fact he quite often looks sloppy with his punched, and really slow with his straight shots. There's almost a ponderous nature to how he fights. Worryingly for him is the fact opponents can catch him with straight shots of their own, and he's not a particularly smart defensive fighter. That's not to say he's there to be hit, but his defenses are relatively limited, even at the low level he's been fighting at. He's what we consider a good continental level fighter, a bit like a solid OPBF champion, but that level is well below genuine world class and we suspect that will be seen here.
Coming in to this we suspect Dignum just doesn't have what it takes to really test Alimkhanuly and his slow, almost deliberate pressure style will actually be made to order for the Kazakh. Alimkhanuly's crisper, cleaner, harder and sharper punches will make the most of Dignum's porous defense. And round by round Alimkhanuly's shots will chip away at Dignum, who will be left swollen, bloodied, beaten and eventually stopped, either by the referee or his team, knowing that he has stepped too much in this bout.
Prediction - TKO9 Alimkhanuly
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.