Boxing Social columnist Russ Anber reflects on Janibek Alimkhanuly’s performance on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s win against Masayoshi Nakatani…

I love working corners with dear friend Buddy McGirt!

I’ve been alongside Buddy in Janibek Alimkhanuly’s corner since his pro debut back in 2016 and in my opinion this talented Kazakh kid is now close to becoming one of the top contenders in the middleweight division. He owes a lot to Buddy who is slowly but surely making this guy a solid pro!

Janibek won pretty much everything you could win in the amateurs and has now won all 10 of his pro fights, with his latest win coming against Rob Brant last Saturday on the undercard of Loma’s win against Masayoshi Nakatani, which I wrote about in my column yesterday.

This was a good little step-up fight for Janibek. Brant has fought in some decent company and was certainly the best opponent Janibek has fought to date. Rob’s also a super guy, boxing needs more Rob Brants, because he’s a such classy guy through and through.

Rob came to win, but Janibek just has that little extra something. He’s an elite level fighter who’s still learning and he’s only going to get better and better. He’s got size, strength and power and he’s a southpaw – he has everything going for him. He’s also a student of the game who works really hard.

I was very impressed with his performance. He went out there to try and make a statement, to knock Rob out. Buddy tried to tell him to chill out but I think Janibek probably felt he could walk through him and knock him out with one punch, and that works for him against guys that are a level lower than Rob, that aren’t world class, world level guys.

An opponent like Rob can prevent you from landing the thunder that you really want to land, or you might be able to land against a lower level guy. Rob tried to take Janibek out of his confort zone, to box him, to frustrate him and counter and so on, but fair play to Janibek. He listened to Buddy’s instructions, kept himself together, and once he started to find his distance and a home for that straight left hand he started landing with great frequency and started the breakdown process.

It’s a case of simple maths – the numbers don’t lie. When one fighter is picking up the pace and starting to land more shots and the other fighter is starting to break down, that’s not a good equation for the guy on the receiving end. And that’s what happened on Saturday. Little by little Janibek was able to get to Rob more and more frequently.

In the sixth round, Janibek hit him with such a good shot and hurt him so much that Rob had the mental awareness to voluntarily take a knee and an eight count. From what we heard afterwards Rob’s corner had started telling him they were gonna stop the fight soon and that’s what happened after the eighth round.

I’m glad they pulled the plug because Janibek was in vicious mode by then. He was in his stride and knew there was nothing coming back. He was landing almost at will and it was only a matter of time before he knocked him out.

When you’re brave and you’ve given it your all that’s when the corner needs to step in and protect you and that’s what Rob’s corner did. They gave him every opportunity to get back in the fight and made the right call to pull him out. It was a smart boxing decision.

So after a tremendous couple of weeks in California and Las Vegas I’m now back in Canada and we’ll see what fight dates come up next for me.

Russ Anber was talking to Luke G. Williams.

Russ Anber is the founder/ CEO of Rival Boxing, as well as a highly respected trainer (of both pros and amateurs), a gym owner, a cut-man, an entrepreneur, a broadcaster and one of the best hand wrappers in the boxing business. Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk, Artur Beterbiev, Callum Smith and Michael Conlan are among the many top boxers Russ currently works with.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.