Janibek Alimkhanuly will face another British contender in his first defense of the WBO middleweight title.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the unbeaten Kazakhstan native and England’s Denzel Bentley have agreed to meet in a 12-round main event ESPN+ will stream November 12 from an undetermined venue in Las Vegas. Bentley is ranked 14th among the WBO’s 160-pound contenders, but Alimkhanuly isn’t required at this time to make a mandatory defense of a WBO belt he won when he demolished England’s Danny Dignum in the second round of their May 21 bout at Resorts World Las Vegas.
Alimkhanuly has replaced Oscar Valdez as Top Rank’s headliner for its November 12 show. Mexico’s Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs), a former WBO featherweight and WBO junior lightweight champ, was forced to postpone his return to the ring until January because he suffered a non-boxing injury recently that prohibited him from training.
The 29-year-old Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KOs) won the WBO’s interim title when he knocked out Dignum (14-1-1, 8 KOs) four months ago. The interim tag has since been removed from Alimkhanuly’s championship because former WBO 160-pound champ Demetrius Andrade decided to move up to the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds instead of battling Alimkhanuly next.
London’s Bentley (17-1-1, 14 KOs) will make a quick turnaround for this championship chance. Bentley beat countryman Marcus Morrison (25-6, 16 KOs) by fourth-round technical knockout last Friday night at York Hall in London, which will afford him little time to take a break before he heads back into training camp for the left-handed Alimkhanuly (Morrison fights from an orthodox stance).
Seniesa Estrada (22-0, 9 KOs) will defend her WBA minimumweight championship in the co-feature before Alimkhanuly battles Bentley on November 12. An opponent for Los Angeles’ Estrada hasn’t been solidified for what will be her debut with Top Rank Inc., Bob Arum’s promotional company.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.