The script underwent some last-minute changes. Janibek "Qazaq Style" 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.