Palms Casino Resort is set to host a November 12th doubleheader on ESPN+, which sees Janibek Alimkhanuly and Seniesa Estrada defend their respective titles against Denzel Bentley and Jazmin Gala Villarino.
Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KO) will be making his first appearance as WBO middleweight champion, having been upgraded from interim titlist when Demetrius Andrade vacated his title rather than defend it against “Qazaq Style.” This is a voluntary defense against no. 14 Bentley (17-1-1, 14 KO), the reigning British champion. While Bentley has those nice credentials, he’s also got a crushing April 2021 knockout loss to Felix Cash dangling over his head that keeps this matchup from being terribly appealing.
For the record, Cash is no. 4 behind Jaime Munguia, Chris Eubank Jr, and Esquiva Falcao. Golden Boy is slow-walking Munguia into irrelevancy, Eubank’s shown little interest in facing middleweight contenders since that win over Matt Korobov, and Top Rank isn’t letting Falcao near a real opponent in a million years, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him and Alimkhanuly eventually cross paths.
“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.”
“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 KO), fighting under the Top Rank banner for the first time, has what looks like a fairly easy assignment in Villarino (6-1-2, 1 KO). The 32-year-old spent her pro career fighting low-level opposition in her native Argentina before picking up a pair of decent victories in her more recent efforts, but her uptick in strength of schedule doesn’t figure to prepare her for a fighter of Estrada’s caliber.
I do want to point out that the WBA, in the midst of its “belt reduction program,” invented a women’s minimumweight Gold title for Villarino’s win over Yenifer Leon last November.
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.”
“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.”
Raymond Muratalla (15-0, 12 KO), Antonio Mireles (5-0, 5 KO), Lindolfo Delgado (16-0, 13 KO), Karlos Balderas (13-1, 11 KO), and others populate the undercard.