Demetrius Andrade vacated his WBO middleweight title and in his place, interim titleholder Janibek Alimkhanuly was elevated to champion, Top Rank announced Tuesday.
Alimkhanuly’s first title defense is slated for a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN show in November against an opponent to be determined, a source told ESPN.
Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs) owed Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KOs) a title shot, but instead will move up to 168 pounds where he could face Zach Parker in a rescheduled bout. The fight was slated for May 21 in England before Andrade withdrew with a shoulder injury.
“Demetrius Andrade had no interest in fighting me,” Alimkhanuly, ESPN’s No. 4 boxer at 160 pounds, said in a statement. “I wanted to fight him because I know I would knock him out. He ran away to super middleweight to avoid fighting me. But don’t worry, Demetrius: after I unify the belts at middleweight, we can fight.”
The 29-year-old from Kazakhstan scored stoppage victories over former champion Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant last year. He’s coming off a second-round KO of Danny Dignum in May.
“I’d have no issue fighting Jermall Charlo for his WBC title,” Alimkhanuly said. “We are both champions, so let’s unify the belts. Charlo would be easy work for me, and he knows that. Champions should fight other champions. It’s too bad the other so-called ‘champions’ do not feel that way.”