Popular former WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia and Janibek Alimkhanuly were ordered by the World Boxing Organization to begin negotiations on Tuesday for a 160-lb title eliminator.
The promoters for Munguia (39-0, 31 KOs) and Janibek (11-0, 7 KOs) have 10 days to come to an agreement before a purse bid is ordered.
Munguia is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, and Janibek by Top Rank. According to Dan Rafael, both promotional companies are interested in making the Munguia vs. Janibek fight, which is a welcome relief. It would be a shame if one of the companies decided not to make the contest.
Munguia defeated D’Mitrius Ballard by a third round knockout last Saturday night on DAZN in the Bullring By The Sea in Tijuana, Mexico.
While it was an impressive victory for the unbeaten 25-year-old Munguia, he didn’t get the credit that he otherwise would have due to Ballard being an unknown fighter, and unranked.
In other words, Ballard was a body that had been brought in for Munguia to fight instead of him facing a well-known, top ten contender.
It was Munguia’s fifth fight since moving up to 160, and fans feel that he’s had enough warmups at middleweight to be ready to fight quality opposition.
WBO middleweight champion Demetrius ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade is moving up to 168 to fight Zach Parker in a WBO super middleweight title eliminator next.
Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs) will decide after the Parker fight whether to vacate his WBO 160lb title and stay at 168 or return to the middleweight division and defend against the Munguia vs. Janibek winner.
It’s likely that Andrade will stay at 168 unless he loses to Parker or struggles in beating him. Andrade chooses not to return to the 160-lb division, the Munguia-Janibek winner will be elevated to the full WBO middleweight champion status.
Munguia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya might not let him fight Janibek, though, as he says he wants him to fight for a world title next, meaning he wants IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
“You can actually put the blame on me,” said De La Hoya to Fight Hub TV when told that Munguia is receiving criticism for not stepping it up against quality opposition since moving up to 160.
“Munguia is a fighter who just now I saw that he’s there,” said De La Hoya. “He’s young, he’s there to fight and ready to challenge anybody now. So, I wouldn’t mind putting him in with Andrade.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing him in with the top guys in the division, so he’s ready. He showed me a lot in this last performance [against D’Mitrus Ballard]. His head movement, his jabs, everything is falling into place.
“So, I strongly feel that Munguia’s next fight will be for a world title. If not, against the top, top guys,” said De La Hoya.
The 2016 Olympian Janibek, 28, has recent knockout victories over Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is really high on the six-year professional Janibek, raving about his punching power, and viewing him as a can’t miss future champion.
This will be the first time in Munguia’s career that he’ll be facing a huge puncher, and it should be interesting to see how he reacts to facing someone with power.
“A lot of people are clamoring for Jaime Munguia to fight the best in the 160-lb division. Do you think he’s ready for it?” said Chris Mannix on JABS on DAZN.
“I definitely think he’s ready and I’m one of the people that have been clamoring for it as well because Jaime Munguia has been groomed the right way,” said Sergio Mora.
“He’s had 39 fights and he’s doing that on the big stage. He’s a former champion.”