The WBO middleweight world champion (up to 72.6 kg) Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KOs) from Kazakhstan has recently been busy looking for an opponent for the next title defense.
As we reported earlier, Zhanibek offered to fight the “interim” WBC champion from the Dominican Republic, Carlos Adames, but he decided to wait for a response from the organization about his status. Then it became known about the desire of the Kazakh team to arrange a fight with the American Charles Conwell, but this one also refused.
And then the WBO champion committee came to the aid of Alimkhanuly, appointing him a mandatory defense against Briton Liam Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs). According to the order, now the fighters and their trusted representatives have 20 days (until March 14) to negotiate, after which, if the deal fails, the organizer will be determined at the promotion auction.
But here’s the bad luck – Chris Eubank Jr., whom Smith knocked out in January, has already activated the contract option for an immediate rematch, so Liam, apparently, will be forced to refuse the fight with Zhanibek.
Recall that Alimkhanuly was promoted to full-fledged champions by right of possession of the “temporary” title last year and in November he made a successful defense, defeating Briton Denzel Bentley on points. Shortly thereafter, coach Alimkhanuly spoke about the positives of the fight with Bentley.