Janibek Alimkhanuly faces Vincenzo Gualtieri this Saturday night in a 12-round middleweight unification fight on October 14th on ESPN.
In WBO middleweight champion Janibek’s last fight, he stopped Steven Butler in the second round last May and was an odd choice for a title defense. That was another gimme for the 30-year-old Janibek, and perhaps a confidence-booster type of fight because he had struggled to beat British domestic-level fighter Denzel Bentley by a 12 round decision last November.
Janibek gassed out after three rounds, and took a lot of punishment from Bentley, making the fight a lot harder than it should have been.
If Janibek fades against Vincenzo on Saturday night, he could lose because the German fighter is an excellent boxer, and will take advantage of the situation if he’s got a guy that is exhausted.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes the 2016 Olympian Janibek (14-0, 9 KOs) is the best fighter at 160, but he has a lot to prove before he can live up to that because thus far, he’s fought no one good enough for the boxing public to know if he’s the #1 guy at middleweight or a paper champion.
WBO champion Janibek will face IBF champ Gualtieri (21-0-1, 7 KOs) on Saturday night at the Fort Bend Community Center, Rosenberg, Texas. The event will be shown live on ESPN and ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
In the co-feature, lightweight contender Keyshawn Davis (9-0, 6 KOs) faces Nahir Albright (16-2, 7 KOs) in a ten round fight.
Is Janibek overrated?
“I wouldn’t say that Janibek is unproven, but he hasn’t fought elite,” said Shawn Porter on his YouTube channel about WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly, who has yet to fight anyone of note during his seven-year professional career coming out of the Olympics in 2016.
“No,” said Porter when asked if Janibek is in the same boat as unbeaten welterweight Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, a guy that still hasn’t fought any notable fighters during his career despite posting a 31-0 record.
“Boots isn’t overrated. He’s just not in a position to get a championship title or an opportunity yet. Janibek, I don’t know what the belts are like on his side, but I know there are some guys he can get in the ring with that are elite and he hasn’t got in the ring with.
“Once upon a time, there were talks of a [Demetrius] ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade and Janibek fight. That never happened, and a couple of other fights. I guess overall, I would say he’s [Janibek] a little overrated.
“I’ve seen some good boxing from him, but not really struggles but I’ve seen a lack of consistency too. So, ah, they’ll all looking for elite and consistency in everything they do,” said Porter.
I can’t wait to watch the world’s best middleweight, WBO champion Janibek, unify world titles against the tough IBF champion Vincenzo Gualtieri next Saturday in Rosenberg, Texas, and live on ESPN.
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) October 7, 2023