3 minutes read

Janibek Alimkhanuly To Defend WBO & IBF Titles Against Andrei Mikhailovich On July 13

Janibek Alimkhanuly To Defend WBO & IBF Titles Against Andrei Mikhailovich On July 13 featured image
Janibek Alimkhanuly will be defending both his WBO and recently-acquired IBF titles against unbeaten New Zealander challenger Andrei Mikhailovic on July 13, 2024. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Janibek Alimkhanuly will step into the ring as a unified world champion for the first time of his career on July 13th following his victory over Vincenzo Gualtieri last year which saw him claim the International Boxing Federation’s (IBF) middleweight title alongside his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title. The Kazakhstani champion will be headlining a Top Rank show alongside New Zealander opponent Andrei Mikhailovich, with the co-main event set to be an exciting lightweight battle between contenders Raymond Muratalla and Tevin Farmer. The Top Rank show will be held at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Janibek Alimkhanuly (15-0, 10 KO’s) is arguably the best middleweight in the division at the moment, and now as a unified champion will gain the opportunity to cement the expectations heaped upon him as he steps into the ring against the unbeaten Andrei Mikhailovic (21-0, 13 KO’s) on July 13th.

While Alimkhanuly’s upcoming title[s] defense against Mikhailovic will not see him pitted against the absolute best in his division, it will be an opportunity for the Kazakhstani fighter to continue to remain active while building his resume against a young and undefeated fighter.

Whether Andrei Mikhailovic merits the position to challenge for a title might be up to debate, with the New Zealander having yet to face any top opposition despite having six fights more in the bag than Janibek Alimkhanuly, but the 26-year old’s unstained record suggests he has the talent and potential to cause an upset.

Despite the possible threat Mikhailovic poses, it will be on Janibek Alimkhanuly to prove he truly is the best middleweight by disposing of his opponent handily―whether by a dominant unanimous decision or a knockout (KO)/stoppage victory―to drive home the point to there being levels when it comes to the upper echelon of the division.

For Mikhailovic, he will be stepping up to the big leagues in a sense when he faces Alimkhanuly, and despite the gulf in elite-level experience between the two, it is up to the New Zealander to dictate whether he is a top fighter. While an upset win for Mikhailovc is unlikely―given Alimhanuly is arguably first ranked opponent he has ever faced, causing Alimkhanuly to struggle or at least having one of the judges’ scorecards favor him can propel his career; giving him more opportunities for better fights in the future which he can use to further develop himself.

The co-main event between American lightweight contenders Raymond Muratalla (20-0, 16 KO’s) and Tevin Farmer (33-5-1, 8 KO’s) is set to be regarded as one of the most underrated matches of this year, with both Muratalla and Farmer being talents in their own right that still have a lot to prove.

In the case of Muratalla, there are still questions as to whether he can actually become a world champion in what is still a stacked 135 lbs division, and performing well against Farmer will make all the difference in proving he is up to become one of the best. However, Tevin Farmer is far from a slouch having managed to become―and remain―a world champion at super featherweight for almost three years before an eventual loss to Joseph Diaz (33-6-1, 15 KO’s) in 2020 forced Farmer back on the path of title contention.

Despite his five losses, Farmer has the ability and experience to match Muratalla’s own and cause a definite upset; requiring Muratalla to be at the very best to prove he is a legitimate contender. Despite their lightweight bout only being set for 10 rounds with no title on the line, their fight can be mildly regarded as a 50/50 fight where the winner will distinguish themselves if they manage to win in a more dominant fashion than anticipated. On paper, however, Muratalla is expected to grab a victory to retain his current unbeaten record.

American featherweight talent Ruben Villa (22-1, 7 KO’s) will also fight on the undercard but his match is lightly underwhelming as he faces Ugandan fighter Sulaiman Segawa (16-4-1, 6 KO’s) who does not occupy a top 10 or top 15 position on any of the sanctioning bodies’ rankings, making him a fringe contender at best. While Villa will be expected to grab an easy victory, a potential win is not bound to result in a substantial boost in any of the featherweight rankings―especially given Segawa is coming off a decision loss.

As a former Olympian athlete and a decently-active competitor since 2022, Segawa may also have a couple surprises in store for Villa which may force the American to not take his opponent too lightly come July 13th.