Janibek Alimkhanuly To Finally Fight Esquiva Falcao?
WBO middleweight champion Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KOs) and world-ranked 160-pound Brazilian Esquiva Falcao (30-0, 20 KOs) are two fighters hungry to be the next star and dominant fighter within the division. They seem to be planting the seeds for an eventual fight against one another.
NOT THEIR FIRST RUN-IN
Falcoa shot the first salvo when he went to social media with his list of goals vis-a-vis the middleweight division. It included winning the WBO middleweight title. Upon hearing about this, Qazaq Style quickly shot back.
The irony is Alimkhanuly and Falcao were previously in line to fight one another. In January 2022, the World Boxing Organization ordered a fight between them, but Team Falcao turned it down. Alimkhanuly went on to stop Danny Dignum in two rounds to win the WBO Interim belt in May 2022 and was eventually elevated to full-time WBO champion after then-WBO belt holder Demetrius Andrade decided to vacate the title.
IT’S ALL ABOUT TIMING
The question becomes when an eventual fight could occur between Qazaq Style and Falcao. Not anytime soon.
Alimkhanuly has been out of action since a unanimous victory over Denzel Bentley in November 2022. In February 2023, the WBO ordered a contest between the middleweight champion and the WBO number one contender, Liam Smith.
Falcao is ranked first by the IBF, fifth by the WBO, and seventh by the WBC at 160. The IBF has handed down an order for him to face German Vincenzo Gualtieri for the vacant IBF middleweight strap.
Were they to eventually fight, it would be a battle of unbeaten southpaws who can box and punch. Falcao uses more of his legs and employs the jab to greater effect. Alimkhanuly is the taller fighter and more attack-minded.
In response to their back-and-forth on social media, some boxing fans are skeptical of Falcao and ask, ‘why not fight Alimkhanuly now?’ But the Brazilian is thinking long-term. With both being aligned with Top Rank, you could see a fight between the two at some point in 2024.