Demetrius Andrade, Jaime Munguia and Esquiva Falcao weren’t interested in fighting Janibek Alimkhanuly for either Andrade’s WBO middleweight title or the WBO’s interim 160-pound championship once Andrade decided to move up to the 168-pound division.

Danny Dignum didn’t hesitate for a second when the opportunity to battle Alimkhanuly was presented to him a couple months ago. The British southpaw is a huge underdog in advance of their ESPN main event Saturday night in Las Vegas, yet this was simply a chance Dignum didn’t think he could pass up.

“I was very surprised when the opportunity come up,” Dignum told “I mean, as I’m sure you know, there was three or four fighters that turned the fight down with Janibek. But when my manager called me and he said, ‘Look, Dan, there’s an opportunity to box for the interim world title against Janibek. Do you want it?’ I said yes before he even finished the sentence. You know what I mean? Because I’ve dreamed of having fights like this. To turn this opportunity down, you know, then it’s pointless for me to even be in the sport. So, I said yes straight away.”

Dignum is 1-0-1 against fellow southpaws since he made his pro debut in November 2016. Kazakhstan’s Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) is a better fighter, however, than Alfredo Meli, who was stopped in the ninth round by Dignum, and Andrey Sirotkin, who fought to a 10-round split draw with Dignum in the fight after Dignum defeated Meli.

Alimkhanuly, a 2016 Olympian who is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., is at least an 11-1 favorite over Dignum, according to most sportsbooks.

“Listen, I ain’t gonna lie to you – I think he’s a very good fighter,” Dignum said. “He’s very good all around. He doesn’t really make a lot of mistakes. I’m not silly enough to not know at what level he is. I know he’s at a very good level, but I’ve given myself every opportunity and every chance to win this fight by my training, my sparring, my preparation. So, everything that I could possibly do to give myself every chance, I’ve done it. So, yeah, I mean, we’ll just see on fight night, no?”

The largely unknown Dignum has drawn more motivation from how he has been dismissed by most fans and analysts as an easy mark for Alimkhanuly. The Bowers Gifford, England native isn’t a high-profile fighter even in his home country, but Dignum intends to change the course of his career by upsetting Alimkhanuly.

“Nine out 10 people have already written me off in this fight,” Dignum said. “You know what I mean? I’m looking to show them that I belong at this level and that I’ve mixed with top fighters. You know, I believe in my ability and I believe that I’m a good fighter myself. So, everyone that’s written me off, and there’s a lot of people that have written me off, they’re gonna become my fan because I’ve given this fight everything. I’ve trained so hard and prepared for this fight so well, I’m just gonna give it everything. And I’m just go in there and give it my best. That’s all I can do. And hopefully, I’ll come out with the victory.”

Alimkhanuly, 29, and Dignum, 30, will headline an ESPN tripleheader from Resorts World Las Vegas scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT.

Former WBO junior lightweight champ Jamel Herring (23-3, 11 KOs), of Cincinnati, and Jamaine Ortiz (15-0-1, 8 KOs), of Worcester, Massachusetts, are set to meet in ESPN’s co-feature, a 10-round lightweight fight. The network also will televise a six-round welterweight match in which Delante “Tiger” Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs), a 2021 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland, will face Argentina’s Agustin Kucharski (8-4-1, 3 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.