Janibek Alimkhanuly Beats A Very Game Denzel Bentley
In his first title defense, WBO middleweight champion Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KO’s) took on Denzel Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KO’s).
In his last match, Alimkhanuly stopped Danny Dignum to take possession of the interim WBO strap. Alimkhanuly, 29, was actually originally ordered to fight former WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade by the WBO. The fight did not take place, however, because Andrade bowed bout citing injury as the reason. So this is why Alimkhanuly, a 2016 Olympian, fought Dignum instead. Later, Andrade would vacate the title at which point Qazaq Style was elevated to the full champion.
For Bentley, this match stood as his first attempt at a full world title and his US fighting debut. The UK import entered the battle riding a three-fight win streak since suffering his sole professional loss to Felix Cash back on April 24, 2021. Bentley claimed two of those three victories by knockout and defeated Linus Udofia to take possession of the BBBofC British middleweight title. Entering this duel, Bentley was ranked #14 (WBA).
The opening rounds would see Alimkhanuly come out and assume the role of ring general by pressing the action. Unfortunately, there was not much practical or satisfying offense from either fighter. The dynamics of the duel began to shift in the third as Alimkhanuly began finding regular success with his left hand. To his credit, Bentley was putting on a solid defensive performance working largely from behind a high-guard.
During the sixth and seventh rounds, Bentley became notably more comfortable in the fight. As this happened, the UK import connected with more and more meaningful hard shots.
In the eighth Alimkhanuly ate far more leather than he ever intended to. The ninth round saw the match turn into a shoulder-to-shoulder war. Each man landed hard, clean neck whipping punches throughout the period.
RUMBLING DOWN THE STRETCH
The action remained outrageously, but delightfully close down the stretch. Whenever one competitor landed a particularly hard blow the other answered within seconds. This aspect made the rounds a nightmare to score. Then in Hollywood fashion Alimkhanuly hit and hurt Bentley in the opening seconds of the twelfth and final round.
Undeniably hurt, the UK import fought like a willing, but impaired fighter for the greater portion of the period. In memorable fashion however, Bentley gathered himself and ended the round throwing punches center ring throwing caution into the wind.
Given the way the fight played out, there was notable suspense going to the cards. Yet, when the tallies were in, Alimkhanuly prevailed by a wide unanimous decision to the tune of 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110. In his post-fight interview, Alimkhanuly called for unifications but did not say any names in particular.
By: Bakari Simpson