The script underwent some last-minute changes. Janibek Alimkhanuly was supposed to blow out Denzel Bentley, but the London native had other ideas. Alimkhanuly made the first defense of his WBO middleweight world title with a unanimous decision (116-112 2x and 118-110) over Bentley on Saturday evening at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort.
Janibek (13-0, 8 KOs) controlled the early rounds, but Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KOs) turned the tide of the fight in the dramatic fifth round. He pushed Janibek to the ropes and laced the heavy favorite with right hands.
After a competitive 11th, Janibek nearly closed the show in the 12th, landing a series of straight lefts that wobbled Bentley.
Janibek said, “It’s boxing. Anything can happen in the ring. He came prepared. I respect my opponent because he was prepared. He was 100 percent, but I am a champion and I fought all 12 rounds as a champion.
“I am ready for any champion, for unifications. I am ready. Let’s fight.”
Bentley, a two-time British middleweight champion, believed the fifth round marked the fight’s turning point.
Bentley said, “I thought I was in the fight. In the fifth round, my coach told me we weren’t in front and to pick up the pace, so I picked up the pace.”
The rally proved too little, too late, as Janibek stemmed the changing tide and stamped his victory with a dramatic final round.
Estrada Retains World Title
After more than 300 days away from the ring, Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada made her triumphant ring return, defending her WBA minimumweight world title with a one-sided decision over Argentina’s Jazmin Gala Villarino. All three judges had the bout a shutout, 100-90, and Estrada outlanded her foe, 210-121.
Estrada (23-0, 9 KOs) came back in fine form, keeping Villarino off balance by switching from orthodox to southpaw and back again. Villarino (6-2-2, 1 KO) hung tough and landed her share of clean shots, a phone booth affair that culminated in a toe-to-toe 10th round.
Estrada said, “It’s been an emotional week for me because it’s been 328 days since I’ve been in the ring. And I just want to tell all girls and all women in sports to always believe in yourself and always believe in what you can do and always go after what you want. I might’ve been slowed down, but I can’t be stopped. This is what I was born to do. This is the talent God has given me, and this is my destiny, and you cannot stop destiny.
“After 11 months, we were prepared for her to come in and win. I’m the best opponent she’s faced, and she wanted to defeat me. I was prepared to go 10 rounds or get the knockout.
“I shook the ring rust off, and I’m ready to go for unification fights and undisputed fights.”
In undercard action:
Lightweight: Emiliano Fernando Vargas (2-0, 2 KOs) KO 2 Julio Cesar Martinez (1-1, 1 KO), :47. The prodigy delivered. Vargas, the youngest son of former world champion Fernando Vargas, knocked out Martinez with a left hook in the second round, bringing the capacity crowd to its feet in his Top Rank debut. Vargas withstood an early charge from Martinez, who landed 11 of 45 punches in the opening round. In the second round, the vaunted Vargas left hook ended matters. The celebration began, and Vargas ran into the waiting arms of his father, who also serves as his head trainer.
Vargas said, “The dude was a sturdy guy. He came in there to fight. I know he prepared himself 140 percent, and I prepared myself 140 percent. I just had to listen to my corner, my father, keep on boxing, and the shots will open up. Just box beautifully.”
Lightweight: Raymond Muratalla (16-0, 13 KOs) TKO 6 Miguel Contreras (12-2-1, 6 KOs), 2:23. Muratalla, one of the sport’s rising lightweight contenders, used an educated right hand to grind down Contreras, a tough-nosed veteran from Bakersfield, California. After a right hand shook Contreras in the sixth, Muratalla unloaded. Contreras, defenseless in the blue corner, was saved from further damage.
Super Middleweight: Javier Martinez (8-0, 2 KOs) UD 6 Marco Antonio Delgado (7-5, 5 KOs), Scores: 60-54 and 59-55 2x. Martinez, a former U.S. amateur standout from Milwaukee, earned his fourth straight six-round decision with a workmanlike performance over the durable Delgado.
Junior Featherweight: Floyd Diaz (8-0, 3 KOs) TKO 4 Edgar Joel Cortes (9-7-1, 1 KO), 1:14. “Cash Flow” notched his second knockout in three fights, knocking Cortes down with a right hand in the fourth round. Cortes beat the count with time to spare, but referee Mike Ortega deemed Cortes unfit to continue and waved it off.
Lightweight: Charlie Sheehy (5-0, 4 KOs) TKO 1 Markus Bowes (2-1, 2 KOs), 1:37. Sheehy overwhelmed Bowes in 97 seconds, knocking down the North Carolina native with a right hand a little more than one minute into the opening stanza. Bowes rose to his feet on wobbly legs and Sheehy pounced to earn the stoppage.
Lightweight: Karlos Balderas (14-1, 12 KOs) TKO 8 Esteban Sanchez (18-3, 8 KOs), 1:02. Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, earned the most significant victory of his career in knocking out Sanchez, a native of Tijuana, Mexico. Balderas dropped Sanchez with a right hand in the opening round, and in the eighth, a right cross prompted referee Raul Caiz Jr. to stop the fight. Sanchez pushed Balderas in the middle rounds, but he was losing via shutout on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
Heavyweight: Antonio Mireles (6-0, 6 KOs) KO 1 Eric Perry (5-1-1, 5 KOs), 2:26. “El Gigante,” a southpaw from Des Moines, Iowa, let the left hands fly in a one-round destruction over the previously undefeated Perry. Mireles landed a plethora of lefts that had Perry stumbling into the ropes, but it was a right hook that planted the Georgia native onto the canvas for the 10-count.