Alimkhanuly vs Dignum – ESPN – May 21 – 9 pm ET
Middleweight contender Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly has been anxiously waiting for the main event spotlight, and on Saturday, May 21, he’ll hope to seize it. Alimkhanuly will face undefeated Englishman Danny Dignum in a 12-round showdown for the vacant WBO Interim middleweight world title at Resorts World Event Center at Resorts World Las Vegas.
In the co-feature, former junior world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring returns to the lightweight division in a 10-rounder against undefeated NABF titleholder Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz.
Alimkhanuly-Dignum, and Herring-Ortiz will air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets starting at $25 go on sale Tuesday, April 26 at 10 a.m. PT, and can be purchased at Etix.com.
“Janibek is a special talent, one of the very best to come from Eastern Europe in recent years,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He’s getting the platform he deserves — a Las Vegas main event on ESPN — and I expect him to look sensational against a tough Englishman like Danny Dignum. Janibek has everything it takes to reign as middleweight world champion for a very long time.”
Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) is a 2016 Olympian who has been on the fast track to a world title shot ever since knocking out 50-fight veteran Milton Nuñez in his pro debut. The Kazakh southpaw then racked up eight additional wins before scoring eighth-round stoppages over former world champions Rob Brant and Hassan N’Dam. Despite only 11 fights, Alimkhanuly has become an actively avoided fighter within his division, as several recognizable names at 160 pounds chose other options when opportunity knocked. With this shot at the interim title, he’ll finally get his chance on the main event stage.
Alimkhanuly said, “Demetrius Andrade and Jaime Munguia avoided fighting me, so I give Danny Dignum a lot of credit for stepping up to the plate. I will show the entire world true ‘Qazaq Style’ on May 21, and I will leave the ring as the WBO Interim middleweight champion. While the division’s top names are avoiding me, they won’t be able to run forever. I can’t wait to put on a spectacular showing at Resorts World Las Vegas.”
Dignum (14-0-1, 8 KOs) spent the better part of his amateur career at light heavyweight. In fact, the Essex, England, native had never made the 160-pound limit until November 2019, when he scored a fifth-round TKO over Conrad Cummings to snatch the WBO European crown. Dignum has made three defenses of his regional title, one of which ended in a split draw against Andrey Sirotkin. In February, he knocked down Grant Dennis three times en route to a sixth-round stoppage victory. Dignum will enter the ring with a height and size advantage in this all-southpaw battle.
Dignum said, “I am absolutely buzzing to be fighting Janibek for the WBO Interim middleweight world title. It’s a dream come true to be headlining a show in Las Vegas. All the sacrifice over the years has been worth it to get to this point. I’m very confident in my ability and will be coming to Resorts World to win that title.”
Herring (23-3, 11 KOs), a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and 2012 U.S. Olympian, began his pro career with a somewhat difficult run at 135 pounds. However, after signing with Top Rank and dropping down to junior lightweight, he revitalized his career with an impressive knockout over Juan Pablo Sanchez on the undercard of Jorge Linares-Vasiliy Lomachenko. Herring only needed two additional fights before upsetting Masayuki Ito for the WBO 130-pound crown. Herring made three tough defenses against Lamont Roach Jr., Jonathan Oquendo and Carl Frampton before losing his belt to Shakur Stevenson in October 2021. With this championship experience under his belt, Herring is ready to give it another go at 135 pounds.
Herring said, “I’m happy to be back, starting the new year with a fresh start. A lot has changed since I was last in the ring. I am working with a new trainer, Manny Robles, and returning to the lightweight division for this upcoming fight. I’m optimistic that a victory here will place me back in the title picture at either lightweight or junior lightweight.”
Ortiz (15-0-1, 8 KOs) is a quick-handed boxer whose only blemish is a majority draw against then-undefeated prospect Joseph Adorno. The 25-year-old demonstrated speed and volume punching in that fight, qualities that helped him obtain a unanimous decision win over Nahir Albright back in February to capture the NABF crown. This will be a considerable step up in opposition for Ortiz, who will have his second shot at fighting on a Top Rank on ESPN card.
Ortiz said, “Jamel Herring is a tremendous fighter with an impeccable resume, and I have all the respect in the world for what he’s accomplished, but on May 21, he’s stepping into my ring in my weight class, and I will show him – and the entire world – why I’m the future at 135 pounds. What you saw in February against Nahir Albright is simply a preview of what’s to come. We’ve only scratched the surface. I’m looking forward to adding more titles to my own resume as I climb the ladder in 2022.”
Olympian Tiger Johnson Added to Alimkhanuly-Dignum ESPN Telecast at Resorts World Las Vegas
Tiger Johnson has been ready for prime time ever since representing the U.S. at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The welterweight standout will get a chance to put his skills on display in prime time as he fights an opponent to be named in a six-round special feature Saturday, May 21, at the Resorts World Event Center at Resorts World Las Vegas. Johnson’s bout will open the ESPN telecast of the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Danny Dignum WBO Interim middleweight world title bout.
Alimkhanuly-Dignum, a 10-round lightweight co-feature between Jamel Herring and Jamaine Ortiz, and Johnson’s return will air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Following his Olympic run, Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs) made an impressive pro debut by stopping Antonius Grable in the fourth round last November on the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter undercard. The 23-year-old followed up that performance with a decision win over Xavier Madrid and a fourth-round TKO over Sebastian Gabriel Chaves.
The following undercard bouts are scheduled to stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT.
- Southern California standout Adam “Blunose” Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Dominican puncher William Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout. Lopez became a fan favorite after a breakout performance against Oscar Valdez in November 2019. Despite losing that fight, Lopez demonstrated the poise and composure that would eventually lead him to wins over Louie Coria, Jason Sanchez, and a razor-thin majority decision loss to former world champion Isaac Dogboe. The 26-year-old faces yet another tough challenge in Encarnacion, who is coming off a loss against top contender Abraham Nova.
- 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (12-1, 11 KOs) will take on Colombian Ruben Cervera (13-2, 11 KOs) in a junior lightweight clash scheduled for eight or six rounds. Balderas is coming off three consecutive stoppage victories since signing with Top Rank last year.
- Former world champion Jessie Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KOs) returns from a nearly two-year layoff to fight Mexico’s Edy Valencia Mercado (19-6-6, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder at featherweight. Magdaleno has won three in a row since losing the WBO junior featherweight crown to Isaac Dogboe in April 2018.
- U.S. Olympic silver medalist Duke Ragan (5-0, 1 KO), from Cincinnati, Ohio, will put his unbeaten record on the line against Victorino Gonzalez (5-2, 2 KOs) in a featherweight bout scheduled for six or four rounds.
- Steven “So Cold” Nelson (17-0, 14 KOs), from Omaha, Nebraska, returns from an extended layoff to take on Louis Rose (17-3-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round light heavyweight battle. Nelson, who knocked out DeAndre Ware in September 2020, suffered a torn Achilles shortly after that bout.
The undercard will also feature three swing bouts:
- Undefeated lightweight contender Giovanni “El Cabron”
Cabrera (19-0, 7 KOs), a Chicago native who signed with Top Rank earlier this year, will face Argentinean veteran Elias Araujo (21-4, 8 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
- Lightweight prospect Charlie Sheehy (2-0, 2 KOs), a former Team USA amateur standout from Brisbane, California, returns in a four-rounder against New Orleans native Burnell Jenkins (2-1, 1 KO).
- Rising junior welterweight Kasir “Mazzi”
Goldston (4-0, 1 KO) will fight Cuban spoiler Yaniel Alvarez (2-1, 1 KO) in a bout scheduled for six or four rounds.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets starting at $25 are on sale now and can be purchased at Etix.com.