Janibek Alimkhanuly assumes it is going to be quite difficult to get top middleweights to fight him.

That’s what the Kazakh southpaw experienced once he became the WBO’s number one contender in the 160-pound division. Demetrius Andrade, the WBO middleweight champion, moved up to the super middleweight division for a since-postponed 168-pound interim championship clash with Wales’ Zach Parker rather than accepting a mandated match against Alimkhanuly.

Once Providence’s Andrade passed on facing Alimkhanuly, Tijuana’s Jaime Munguia, a former WBO junior middleweight champ, and unbeaten Brazilian contender Esquiva Falcao declined opportunities to square off against Alimkhanuly for the WBO’s interim middleweight title.

“I think I’m one of the most avoided fighters,” Alimkhanuly said during a press conference Thursday in Las Vegas. “And I think in the future, many are going to continue to step aside. Many will not want to face me in the ring.”

England’s Danny Dignum gladly accepted the assignment Andrade, Munguia and Falcao forwent. The British southpaw is undefeated (14-0-1, 8 KOs), but Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) figures to be the most dangerous opponent of Dignum’s five-year pro career on Saturday night at Resorts World Las Vegas.

Caesars Sportsbook has therefore installed Alimkhanuly as an 11-1 favorite to defeat Dignum in a 12-round main event ESPN will televise as part of a tripleheader set to start at 8 p.m. ET.

“I respect him very much for taking this fight,” Alimkhanuly said. “He is a good fighter. He has a good record. He is 14-0. He has a good amateur career. But when we step in the ring, all the respect is going to go away. It’s boxing.”

Alimkhanuly, a 29-year-old southpaw, stopped France’s Hassan N’Dam in the eighth round of his last fight, which was part of the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter undercard November 20 at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. Dignum dropped Grant Dennis (17-4, 3 KOs) three times in the sixth round of his last fight, which he won by technical knockout February 11 at York Hall in London.

“I’ve been preparing for this fight for a very long time,” Alimkhanuly said. “I’ve learned a lot about him. I’ve learned about all of the mistakes that he does in the ring. I’ve learned what his weaknesses are. I’m going to be playing with him, and I’m going to be showing my ‘Qazaq Style’ of fighting.”

ESPN also will televise a 10-round co-feature in which former WBO junior lightweight champ Jamel Herring (23-3, 11 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Coram, New York, will meet Jamaine Ortiz (14-0-1, 8 KOs), a lightweight prospect from Worcester, Massachusetts. A six-round welterweight bout between Cleveland’s Delante “Tiger” Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs), a 2021 U.S. Olympian, and Argentina’s Agustin Kucharski (8-4-1, 3 KOs) will be part of ESPN’s telecast as well.

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