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Alimkhanuly vs Bentley: Three reasons to watch the WBO world title fight on BT Sport
Denzel Bentley looks to record one of the all-time great wins for British boxers on away soil against Janibek Alimkhanuly, with all the action exclusively live on BT Sport.
Briton Denzel Bentley faces Janibek Alimkhanuly for the WBO middleweight title
Denzel Bentley challenges WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly on Sunday, with all the action from Las Vegas exclusively live on BT Sport.
The British champion steps up to face the unbeaten Kazakh southpaw just a few months after successfully defending the Lord Lonsdale belt against Marcus Morrison.
Now, he has a golden opportunity to join one of boxing's most exclusive clubs - but must overcome one of the sport's most feared champions to bring a world title back to Britain.
Here are three reasons to watch the action exclusively on BT Sport this Saturday night.
Bentley goes for gold
Two-time British champion Bentley is preparing for the fight of his life against a formidable champion in Alimkhanuly.
The 27-year-old has recorded three consecutive wins since he was ruthlessly stopped by Felix Cash last April.
He recovered impressively from his first loss and produced an emphatic performance against Morrison to win inside four rounds last time out.
The Battersea boxer won the British middleweight crown for the first time after a fourth-round stoppage of Mark Heffron in the second fight between the pair in September 2020.
He lost the title against Cash in his next fight but bounced back with a TKO win over Sam Evans and regained the belt with a split decision victory over Linus Udofia before stopping Morrison in style in September.
His maiden world title shot has come out the blue, but he is ready to grasp opportunity in his first professional contest outside of London.
“It will be a good and exciting fight and I think it is a fight I can win,” he said.
“Why not go out there and enjoy the theatrics of Las Vegas and come back with a world title? It is a great opportunity and what fighter doesn’t want to be in this position?
“I genuinely believe I can beat him, and he is beatable. Everybody says he is scary, but I don’t see it.
“I had a feeling I would come up against him so, when it came through, there was no way I could say no to it. It is a fight I am actually happy to take.”
“It is an opportunity for Denzel to step up from being a respected British champion to starring on the world stage in Las Vegas,” added promoter Frank Warren.
“I can tell you that Denzel had absolutely no hesitation in accepting this fight and Janibek is a name he has mentioned to us on a number of occasions.”
Power puncher Alimkhanuly looks for another KO
Alimkhanuly makes the first defence of his title against Bentley after a rapid rise up the middleweight division.
The 29-year-old Kazakh was upgraded to world champion after the previous incumbent Demetrius Andrade vacated the title in August.
He has quickly established himself as one of the hardest punchers in the division, winning five of his last six bouts by knockout, including statement victories over former world champions Rob Brant and Hassan N’Dam.
He brutally knocked out another Brit, Danny Dignum, in his last contest with a right uppercut in the second round and hasn’t gone the distance since April 2019.
As an amateur he won gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, 2013 Asian Championships and 2014 Asian Games and reached the quarter-finals at the 2016 Olympics.
He has also experienced fighting on the biggest stage as a professional. He faced Brant as the co-featured bout to Vasyl Lomachenko vs Masayoshi Nakatani and appeared on the undercard of the hugely anticipated bout between Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter.
“I give Bentley credit for accepting the challenge when so many fighters ran the other way,” he said.
“It is a great honour to defend my world title in Las Vegas at The Palms, and I will once again show the world what Qazaq Style is about.”
Alimkhanuly will be determined to make a statement in his first bout as middleweight champion as he looks to build his profile before seeking out lucrative unification bouts.
Pound-for-pound star returns
Seniesa Estrada, considered one of the pre-eminent female fighters, defends her minimumweight title against Jazmin Villarino in the co-main event.
The American has nine knockouts from 22 straight wins and she holds the record for the fastest ever knockout in women’s boxing.
It took just seven seconds for her to finish Miranda Atkins in 2020 and she followed up the remarkable triumph with three successive wins to extend her perfect record.
She makes her return to the ring after 11 months out as she targets unifications across several weight divisions.
The 30-year-old signed a deal with promotional company Top Rank in July and is looking to be more active after only fighting three times in the last two years.
She has built a reputation as a fearsome puncher in a professional career that has spanned over a decade.
“This is an exciting time for women’s boxing. 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,” she said.
Argentinian Villarino, who has a record of six wins, one defeat and two draws is her opponent for the 10-round contest.
She won a split decision against Judith Vivanco in her last bout, but the 32-year-old has far less experience than Estrada and will be banking on her opponent being rusty - but she is unlikely to cause an upset.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for, to fight for a world title against a fellow warrior like Seniesa Estrada,” she said.
Watch Alimkhanuly vs Bentley exclusively live on BT Sport 1 HD from 1.45am on Sunday or catch up afterwards on btsport.com or the BT Sport app.