An incredulous Buddy McGirt rubbed his eyes as he couldn’t believe what he was witnessing.
After watching Janibek Alimkhanuly lay waste to his middleweight competition, McGirt, Alimkhanuly’s trainer, was completely convinced that no one would stand up to his pernicious knockout power, a sentiment Alimkhanuly wholeheartedly agreed with. So as the first defense of his newly won WBO trinket grew near, Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KOs) dismissed the idea of Denzel Bentley providing him with a stern test.
Yet, despite Alimkhanuly's hubris, Bentley pushed his man back, forced him to fight on his back foot, and employed the type of roughhouse tactics that Alimkhanuly wasn’t quite used to. Although the Kazakhstan star managed to eke out the unanimous decision victory, Alimkhanuly has been lambasted by his critics.
Still, while a bit of his shine and star power has been wiped away, McGirt is gleeful by what transpired. Although scoring concussive knockouts are attention-grabbing, the world-renowned trainer is of the belief that his fighter was given valuable lessons this past weekend.
“We needed this,” said McGirt to a group of reporters. “We needed a fight like this where we had to make some adjustments against a guy that wasn't going anywhere. I told Janibek, this guy has everything to gain nothing to lose. Those are the worst guys in the world to fight.”
In addition to experiencing the long and painful grind associated with going a full 12 rounds, McGirt sees other benefits from Alimkhanuly’s performance.
Long before being elevated to full champion status, Alimkhanuly sulked as his perpetual callouts fell on deaf ears. By and large, the 29-year-old maintained that due to his spotless record, the rest of the middleweight division’s elite would refuse to face him.
Now, following a pedestrian showing, McGirt has a feeling that his WBO titlist may have successfully lured more lucrative bouts in the near future.
“Hopefully people might say 'I’ll fight him now' but they don’t understand is when they fight him, he’ll rise to that occasion.”
One possible opponent is undefeated contender Jaime Munguia. On Sunday, the WBO ordered Janibek to make a mandatory defense against Munguia. Many insiders are not confident the fight will actually come off. Earlier this year, the WBO ordered them to fight for the interim-title and Munguia went in another direction.