By Huck Allen: WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly weighed in at 159.6 lbs on Friday for the first defense of his title against #9 Denzel Bentley for their main event 12-round clash on ESPN+ in a Top Rank Boxing promoted show at the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The card kicks off at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT live on ESPN+.
Bentley weighed in at 159 lbs and looked confident for a fighter that the oddsmakers are giving very little chance of winning.
The main portion of the card begins at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT on ESPN+.
Janibek, 29, was elevated to the WBO middleweight champion position after Demetrius Andrade passed up on defending the belt against the Kazakh.
Seniesa Estrada 103.8 vs. Jazmin Gala Villarino 105
Raymond Muratalla 135 vs. Miguel Contreras 135.2
Emiliano Fernando Vargas 133.8 vs. Julio Cesar Martinez 134
“All of that doesn’t mean anything. I’ve got to get in the ring and put on a performance of a lifetime,” said Denzel Bentley to BT Sport Boxing about the huge crowd that will be in attendance on Saturday night.
“I’m more focused on that. I think after, I’ll be able to soak up what’s in Vegas, but right now, I’m trying to be level-headed and holding it all down. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
“Yeah, he’s quite tall, and he’s got a big head. I noticed that,” said Bentley about his thoughts on his opponent Janibek. “Other than that, like you said. He’ll probably change on the night. He’ll probably put on a lot of weight, but that’s fine.
“Whatever they’re trying to do, I didn’t take notice. I just focus on what I have to do,” Bentley said when asked if Janibek and his team are trying to get into his head by discussing other fights in the future and assuming that a victory on Saturday night is a forgone conclusion.
“I know that’s their job to try and get us both to try and trash-talk each other, but I don’t bite unless I want to, and I didn’t want to bite today. So, I felt like I’ll just say what I need to say. On Twitter, it’ll be a bit different with back & forth, and it probably wasn’t even him typing anyway.
“Over here, I didn’t say much, and even if he did say all that, it means nothing because on the night, we got to do it. I’m in the track seat. I’m comfortable.
“It’s good that they gave it a shout and respect the British title. Obviously, I’m a Brit, so that means a lot back home. I’m glad that they put that out today and didn’t act like it didn’t mean anything. We got to fight. I want a world title.
“Being a British champion, that’s on my resume, getting it twice. Getting a world title would be even better,” said Bentley.