Boxing’s master of all trades Russ Anber reflects on his recent work with Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith and Janibek Alimkhanuly in the latest instalment of his regular Boxing Social column…
I wrote this column while I was on my way to Canastota to support my good friend Roy Jones Jr who was deservedly inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. More on that in a future column!
I’ve worked a couple of interesting fights since my last column. For starters I was at Madison Square Garden at the end of April to work Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith’s corner for his light-middleweight showdown against Jessie Vargas on the undercard of the female super fight between Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor.
I enjoyed the fight, it was great to be back at the Garden of course, that’s always a special experience. Beefy won by TKO in round ten and his performance against Jessie was very solid, no doubt about it. I was very impressed by Liam and I think it was an even better performance than he put in against Anthony Fowler late last year on that fantastic night in Liverpool.
Beefy’s defence was on-point, he made weight well, he looked strong. He was busy, he landed a lot of shots, he executed everything we hoped for really well. Joe McNally put a good plan together and honestly, called a great fight between rounds. It went exactly as he told me in the days leading up to fight.
The roll that Beefy is on at the moment is quite something. It’s going to take a really special fighter to beat him – a class guy, an elite guy. Jessie tried his best – you have to give him credit for that. He sure did come to fight. Every time it looked like Beefy was getting to him he would fire back with hard left hooks.
Jessie was so determined to stay in the fight. He tried desperately to hold Beefy off, but Beefy was relentless and just kept on him. It was a really exciting fight and more than worthy of gracing the Garden.
The main event that night – of course – was between Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor. We watched the fight backstage on TV. In fact myself and the Smiths were in exactly the same place where we watched Anthony Joshua’s sensational loss to Andy Ruiz Jr back in the summer of 2019, because Liam was given the same dressing room that Callum had that night when he fought Hassan N’Dam on the undercard.
To be honest, if you’re not right at ringside – where you can see the punches properly and the fight really unfold – then you’re better off watching a fight on TV. You get spoiled when you’ve been ringside for so many fights, as I have, so I’d rather watch a fight on TV than go back to sitting in the rafters or wherever!
Taylor-Serrano was a really close fight. I would be remiss in saying who I thought won because I didn’t score the fight round by round. I legitimately saw Katie coming on later in the fight, she was landing more than she did in the middle of the fight when Serrano was in control.
I would not have objected in the slightest if they had made it a draw. Certainly a draw or 6-4 in rounds either way I would have seen. I couldn’t see the fight any wider than that to either fighter.
Next up for me was working for Janibek Alimkhanuly in his bout against Danny Dignum. Janibek can really fight – he’s the real deal, and it doesn’t surprise me that you never hear anyone call him out because he is a classic case of a very high risk opponent.
He’s got power, he’s got speed, he’s got good defence and he’s really learning and dedicated to learning his craft. He’s a southpaw and he’s well schooled and has an outstanding amateur background, during which he travelled the world to fight. The kid is definitely for real.
Dignum stepped up and took on the challenge but he had no answer whatsoever to the pressure and power of Janibek. The step up is class was just too much for him.
It will be interesting to see if anyone will call Janibek out. He doesn’t bring a lot of money to the table, which will be a problem when it comes to getting big fights, because anyone that comes to fight this guy is heading into a war for not that big a pay day.
It may well be the case that he will have to wait it out for a mandatory slot because I doubt anyone will risk a voluntary against him. This kid is going to be the avoided bogeyman at 160lbs, mark my words!
Russ Anber was talking to Luke G. Williams.