Boxing’s most avoided world champion finally has a dance partner.
WBO middleweight world champion Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly, a southpaw power puncher from Kazakhstan, will make the first defense of his title against two-time British champion Denzel Bentley on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
In the co-feature, undefeated pound-for-pound queen Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada will defend her WBA minimumweight world title against Jazmin Gala Villarino.
Janibek-Bentley, Estrada-Villarino, and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
“Janibek is the top middleweight in the world, and this fight will be the start of a long and accomplished championship reign,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I am thrilled to see Seniesa Estrada make her Top Rank debut. She is an exceptionally talented fighter and is poised to be a superstar in the sport for years to come.”
“Denzel Bentley is backing himself and completely believes he has got what it takes to win the WBO world middleweight championship from a formidable champion in Janibek Alimkhanuly,” said Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren. “It is a golden opportunity for Denzel to step up from being a respected British champion to starring on the world stage in Las Vegas.”
Janibek (12-0, 8 KOs), a 2016 Olympian from Zhilandy, Kazakhstan, took the express route to a world title. He fought in his first scheduled 10-rounder in his sixth pro fight, winning a pair of regional titles in a dominant showing over Cristian Olivas. Janibek’s last four bouts have been in Las Vegas, a quartet of knockouts that propelled him to the top of the middleweight heap. In 2021, he knocked out former world champions Rob Brant and Hassan N’Dam to earn a shot at the WBO interim middleweight title. Janibek knocked out Danny Dignum in two devastating rounds to earn a shot at then-champion Demetrius Andrade. Janibek was elevated to world champion after Andrade elected to move up in weight rather than defend his middleweight title.
“I give Denzel Bentley credit for accepting the challenge when so many fighters ran the other way,” Janibek said. “It is a great honor to defend my world title in Las Vegas at The Palms, and I will once again show the world what ‘Qazaq Style’ is about.”
Bentley (17-1-1, 14 KOs) makes his American debut following a recent run that saw him become king of the British middleweights for a second time. Last April, he suffered a stoppage loss to Felix Cash in a “Bubble” setting in front of limited spectators. Following a comeback victory over Sam Evans, he regained the British middleweight title with a 12-round split decision over the previously unbeaten Linus Udofia. “The Battersea Bomber” earned the shot at Janibek with a fourth-round TKO over Marcus Morrison last month. Bentley rebounded from being stunned in the opening round to bust up Morrison’s nose and open a cut over his right eye, forcing a corner stoppage. After perhaps his most dramatic victory, Bentley readies for the Las Vegas main event stage.
“It will be a good and exciting fight, and I think it is a fight I can win,” Bentley said. “So why not go out there and enjoy the theatrics of Las Vegas and come back with a world title? I genuinely believe I can beat him, and he is beatable. Everybody says he is scary, but I don’t see it. Maybe I am missing something. We will find out when we get in the ring.”
Estrada (22-0, 9 KOs), the latest fighting sensation from East Los Angeles, hopes to flash the two-handed power that has made her one of the sport’s must-see action stars. A two-weight world champion who has also won an interim world title at flyweight, Estrada returns from a nearly 11-month layoff to defend her minimumweight title for a second time. She won that title last March with one-sided decision over Anabel Ortiz, then captured the WBO light flyweight title less than four months later with a decision over Japan’s Tenaki Tsunami. Estrada moved back down to minimumweight last December and defended her title with a fourth-round stoppage over Maria Micheo Santizo. A women’s boxing pioneer who has been grinding in Southern California gyms since taking up the sport more than two decades ago, Estrada is set to resume her career with the backing of Top Rank and “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”
Estrada said, “This is an exciting time for women’s boxing, and I am thrilled to be making my Top Rank on ESPN debut in Las Vegas against a worthy challenger in Villarino. I am entering the prime of my career and looking forward to unifying the championships in three weight classes. The newest chapter in my career begins November 12, and I can’t wait to get in the ring.”
Villarino (6-1-2, 1 KO) enters her first world title opportunity having not tasted defeat since her 2016 pro debut. Last November, she traveled to Colombia and knocked out Venezuelan former world title challenger Yenifer Leon via seventh-round TKO. Leon also was stopped in five rounds by Estrada back in 2019. Villarino followed up the Leon triumph in March with a unanimous decision over Judith Vivanco in Vivanco’s home country of Mexico. She now enters enemy territory for a third straight fight in hopes of riding her road warrior mentality to a world title.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for, to fight for a world title against a fellow warrior like Seniesa Estrada,” Villarino said. “I am thankful to Top Rank for the opportunity, and I am coming to Las Vegas to shock the boxing world. On November 12, a new champion will be crowned.”
In undercard action, undefeated lightweight prospect Raymond “Danger” Muratalla (15-0, 12 KOs) will fight in an eight-rounder. Muratalla is coming off a one-sided decision over Jair Valtierra.
Antonio “El Gigante” Mireles (5-0, 5 KOs), a 6’9 heavyweight, will fight in his first scheduled six-rounder. Mireles has three consecutive second-round knockouts after scoring a pair of first-round stoppages to start his career.
Junior welterweight Lindolfo Delgado (16-0, 13 KOs), who is coming off an epic decision victory over the previously undefeated Omar Aguilar in August, hopes to inch closer to title contention in an eight-rounder.
2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (13-1, 11 KOs) looks to make it five wins in a row in an eight-round lightweight bout.
Former U.S. amateur superstar Javier “Milwaukee Made” Martinez (7-0, 2 KOs) returns in a six-rounder at super middleweight.
Lightweight Charlie Sheehy (4-0, 3 KOs), a fearsome puncher from the Bay Area, makes his fourth appearance of 2022 in a four-rounder.