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+.
“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.
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.
“I’m happy to be back, starting the new year with a fresh start,” Herring said/ “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.