Janibek Alimkhanuly punishes Vincenzo Gualtieri, scores sixth-round TKO to unify titles

Janibek Alimkhanuly (L) unified the WBO and IBF middleweight titles by stopping Vincenzo Gualtieri in the sixth round Saturday. (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)
Janibek Alimkhanuly (L) unified the WBO and IBF middleweight titles by stopping Vincenzo Gualtieri in the sixth round Saturday. (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

The middleweight division has been bereft of talent since Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin departed the 160-pound class and Jermall Charlo hasn't fought in two years because of personal mental health issues.

But on Saturday in Rosenberg, Texas, Janibek Alimkhanuly showed that may have changed. Alimkhanuly dominated IBF champion Vincenzo Gualtieri from start to finish with hard jabs and accurate punches. He hurt Gualtieri in the fifth, and again in the sixth, with uppercuts and forced referee David Fields to jump in to stop it at 1:25 of the sixth.

That made Alimkhanuly the unified WBO-IBF champion with few apparent significant challengers on the horizon. He said he wants to try to unify all of the belts, which shouldn't be difficult if the sanctioning bodies cooperate.

He operated with a cool precision, and landed 82 total punches. Gualtieri threw only 85 shots. Alimkhanuly said he thought Gualtieri would try to make it a slow fight early before coming on later, but Gualtieri never made it that far.

"I didn't get tired," he said.

Alimkhanuly controlled the first four rounds, but he didn't do any significant damage to Gualtieri. But in the fifth, he threw a wide right, then came back with a hard right jab that landed on the nose before finishing the combination with a sharp left uppercut.

Gualtieri stumbled around before regaining his balance and remained upright.

In the sixth, Alimkhanuly caught him with an uppercut again and Gualtieri was buzzed. Alimkhanuly pursued and forced Gualtieri back into the corner. Alimkhanuly threw two straight lefts that both landing and Fields jumped in to stop it.

'Business Key' wins ugly, rough-and-tumble battle

Keyshawn Davis rolled to a one-sided victory over Nahir "Woo" Albright, winning a majority decision to raise his record to 10-0, but it was an uneven performance and ugly fight. And Albright, a veteran who entered the bout with a 16-2 mark, stung Davis with a crisp counter right from off the ropes late in the eighth round.

With about 30 seconds remaining, Albright caught Davis with a perfect counter right than landed on the chin. Though it had steam behind it, Davis showed a good chin and never budged.

Judges had it 95-95, 96-94 and 97-93 for Davis. Yahoo Sports had it 98-92 for Davis.

Davis did a good job for most of the fight of neutralizing Albright, though there was a lot of holding, clinching and wrestling. The referee was continually between them and pulling them apart and the fight never really got into a flow.

Davis landed 84 of 164 power shots, connecting on 51, which is almost always indicative of a wide win. Albright threw more, with 204 attempts, but he landed just 29

"Honestly, I'm never really satisfied, but shoutout to Woo," Davis said. "He's a hell of a fighter."

Davis is, too, and said he hopes that Top Rank pairs him with former champion Jose Pedraza in a lightweight bout on Dec. 9 in New York. Pedraza has been fighting at super lightweight and not lightweight, and it's not clear if he'll be interested in dropping back down.

But Davis sees him as a big name who could help prove his worth. Pedraza held the super featherweight and lightweight titles earlier in his career and is 29-5-1 with 14 KOs.

"I just want to show that I belong here at the top of the 135-pound division," Davis said. "I'm working my way up there. If Jose Pedraza is willing to take this fight with me, then let's do it."

Torrez keeps KO streak alive

Richard Torrez, the silver medalist for the U.S. from the Tokyo Olympic Games, ran his professional record to 7-0 on Saturday with his seventh consecutive knockout, stopping Tyrrell Anthony Herndon at 1:26 of the second round.

The left-handed Torrez started the finishing sequence with a straight left down the pipe that shook Herndon. As Herndon tried to clear his head, Torrez pressured and followed with a right hook that sent Herndon down and into the ropes. When the fight resumed, Torrez was all over Herndon, who simply turned his back.

That forced referee Alejandro Luna to stop the bout.

It wasn't the most impressive performance by Torrez, but it was a win and at this stage of his career, that's pretty much all that matters.

"I'm not expecting knockouts," Torrez said. "When I don't expect them, that's when they happen. It's a catch-22. If I expect the knockouts, then they don't happen. I just want to show my boxing ability and I got two rounds this time. I'm looking forward to the next one."