Janibek Alimkhanuly proved he was levels above Danny Dignum by knocking the Brit out in the second round of their fight in Las Vegas last night.
The unbeaten Kazakh didn’t play with his food in the WBO Interim Middleweight title bout putting the number two and three contenders together. And while they may have been close to one another in those rankings the gulf between the men in the ring was evident from the early moments of round
A left hand from Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KOs) landed with the type of speed and precision that Dignum (14-1-1, 8 KOs) hasn’t faced before in his professional career. A brief jab exchange was followed by the heavy favourite stepping in to land a short right. The 2016 Olympian was already dipping into his mesmeric array of shots and the fight had barely started.
A five-punch combination spelled the beginning of the end with just over a minute left in the first session. Dignum could do nothing against what was blurring in front of him as he dropped down. He got back up and then ate a triple jab followed by an uppercut. A conclusive 10-8 score if ever there
Alimkhanuly was relaxed and could do what he wanted. He let his hands go knowing full well Dignum’s return fire would likely do little to trouble him. Dignum then appeared to lose his footing on two occasions. A couple of his own feints resulted in his legs being taken away from underneath him with no punches landed. Dignum was in a Las Vegas nightmare but thankfully it wasn’t long before it was over.
As the countdown for round two neared the last 60 seconds Alimkhanuly threw two left hands that forced Dignum to bounce back off the ropes and as his head dropped, he was met with an uppercut which put him on his back and out for the count. Referee Tony Weeks immediately waved the fight off rushing to the aid of the defeated boxer. Fans winced while watching the replay, a highlight reel knockout that will be replayed at the end of 2022.
To his credit Dignum didn’t dodge this fight and stepped up to find out what level he was at. It was a painful result and one that the WBO should look at. Too many fighters climb to lofty positions in governing body rankings and are badly exposed. The hard truth is Dignum didn’t belong in the ring last night against Alimkhanuly. Just over a year ago the game Essex middleweight fought to a split draw against Andrey Sirotkin.
“I didn’t show my best punches yet, they will be coming in the next fight,” the winner told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel afterwards.
The conversation turned to who the unbeaten middleweight wanted next.
“Maybe [Jermall] Charlo’s going to come out,” he said in a mild call out of the WBC champion.
“I’m in a ring right now. I wanted to tell the champions I am here waiting for you. I am asking every champion to come and fight me.”
Yesterday’s interim title fight was made after WBO world champion Demetrius Andrade decided to move to 168lbs to take on Zach Parker in another in between fight before a full title shot. That bout is now unlikely to happen after the American suffered an injury during training and the WBO
terminating the contest given the time needed for ‘Boo Boo’ to recover.
Alimkhanuly went on to inform Kriegel why he would not fight unified middleweight champion and fellow Kazakh Gennadiy Golovkin after being quizzed about possibly facing him in the future. “In our tradition when you are younger you cannot call [out] the guy who is up, I hope he’s going to 168 because I want to gather all the belts in 160 division.”