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  Janibek Ready To Crash
Middleweight World Title Party


Kazakhstan's next middleweight star, Janibek "Qazaq Style" Alimkhanuly, has long called out world champions and 160-pound standouts. He finally gets a chance to win a belt this Saturday at Resorts World Las Vegas when he takes on fellow unbeaten contender Danny Dignum for the vacant WBO Interim middleweight world title.

Janibek (11-0, 7 KOs) is a 2016 Olympian who broke through in 2021 with knockout victories over former world champions Rob Brant and Hassan N'Dam. Dignum (14-0-1, 8 KOs), from Essex, England, has been the WBO European middleweight champion since knocking out Conrad Cummings in November 2019.

In the 10-round co-feature, former junior lightweight world champion Jamel "Semper Fi" Herring returns to the lightweight ranks against undefeated contender Jamaine "The Technician" Ortiz (15-0-1, 8 KOs). The ESPN-televised opener will see U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs) step up in a six-round welterweight bout against Agustin Kucharski (8-4-1, 3 KOs). Janibek-Dignum, Herring-Ortiz and Johnson-Kucharski will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ (5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT) and includes featherweight contender Adam "Blunose" Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs) against William Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs) in an eight-rounder, featherweight U.S. Olympic silver medalist Duke Ragan (5-0, 1 KO), the comebacking Steven "So Cold" Nelson (17-0, 14 KOs), 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (12-1, 11 KOs), and former junior featherweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KOs) returning from a nearly two-year layoff to fight Edy Valencia Mercado (19-6-6, 7 KOs).

At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Janibek Alimkhanuly


ďItís boxing. Everything happens in boxing, as we all know. I am very happy that this young man took this fight. Weíre going deliver a very good fight for the audience."

ďI think Iím one of the most avoided fighters. And I think in the future, many are going to continue to step aside. Many will not want to face me in the ring."

ďI respect him very much for taking this fight. He is a good fighter. He has a good record. He is 14-0. He has a good amateur career. But when we step in the ring, all the respect is going to go away. Itís boxing."

ďIíve been preparing for this fight for a very long time. Iíve learned a lot about him. Iíve learned about all of the mistakes that he does in the ring. Iíve learned what his weaknesses are. Iím going to be playing with him, and Iím going to be showing my ĎQazaq Style' of fighting.Ē

Danny Dignum


ďThis is what Iíve dreamed of since I was nine years old when I first started boxing. Iím so pleased that the other fighters didnít fight him because now itís going to be my opportunity to fight him. Heís a very good fighter. Iíve prepared well. Iíve done everything possible to give myself every opportunity, and Iím ready to take it."

ďIím pleased the other fighters didnít take this fight because otherwise I wouldnít be sitting here now with the opportunity to box for the interim world title. The opportunity came up, and I just said yes straight away. Iíve boxed to try to prove myself, and now Iíve got the opportunity, and Iíve grabbed it with both hands."

ďYouíre going to see a good performance from me on Saturday. Iím going to cause a big upset. Iím going to gain a lot of fans. Iím looking forward to that.Ē

Jamel Herring


ďEverythingís been good. It was a great camp. Iím just happy to be back in the ring. Jamaine is basically the only one that stepped up. You got to give him that respect. Iíve got nothing against anyone else. Richard Commey was a name that was thrown at us. But heís moving up in weight. Robson ConceiÁ„o was another name thrown at me. We were supposed to set up a match against Miguel Berchelt as well, but you see how that played out."

ďBut I donít complain. I donít fuss. I really donít give Top Rank or anyone an issue about who I match up with as long as itís a fight that people want to see and it makes sense, then Iím all for it.Ē

ďI always feel like I have something to prove. I mean, you guys know it really well. Even when I was champion, I was considered the underdog in big fights. When I fought Masayuki Ito, I was the underdog. When I fought Carl Frampton, I was a big underdog, and so on. I just have the mentality that no matter who is in the ring, you always got to take them seriously. You always have to prepare like your backís against the wall. Thatís how I prepare for every fight."

"I had a great camp with Manny Robles. A lot of people donít know, but weíve had a relationship for over 10 years. Manny was actually in my corner when I was getting ready for the Olympics, through the AIBA Worlds, the Continental Qualifiers and even the Olympic Games. Coach Manny was there. I just want to put that out there. Even with the change, itís not a big change. Iím familiar with him.Ē

Jamaine Ortiz


ďItís a big opportunity. I wanted to fight a former world champion just to get myself up there and prove to myself that I can beat a former world champion and beat a current world champion, so this is the road thatís ahead of me."

ďMaybe the opponent wasn't something that I was expecting, but Iím not surprised at the road that Iím heading down by fighting a former world champion because this is what I expect in my career by moving up and trying to climb the ladder. These are the fights that are going to be headed my way."

ďI prepare for every fight with the same mindset. Itís a tough fight. I do what works. I do what fits best for me and for my body. Weíre going to be ready on Saturday.Ē

Tiger Johnson


ďItís a blessing. Iím happy to be here. Weíre just taking it one fight at a time. I had a good camp with Brian CastaŮo. Shout out to him. He had a good fight. Iím just ready for whatever."

ďItís been fun. I like fighting. I enjoy getting better as time goes on. With each fight, you see that Iíve been improving. Itís going to get better and better, and this Saturday, you will see.Ē

On Visiting the White House with the U.S. Olympic Team

ďIt meant a lot. Because of COVID, we didnít get a chance to see the White House, so they arranged it for us. We went there in the beginning of May, and it felt like I was on the Olympic team all over again. Then we had a nice gala. It felt like I was at prom."

Jessie Magdaleno

ďItís been a long two years, and I have been waiting, waiting and waiting. And now that the time is here, I am very excited about it. I canít wait to shine."

ďI missed everything. The training. Getting punched. Feeling the hits. The soreness. I missed it all. Iím very pleased to be back."



 

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