WBO unhappy with Munguia, orders Alimkhanuly-Dignum interim title fight

With Jaime Munguia leaning towards a title shot against Jermall Charlo, the WBO has been forced to make an audible.

The sanctioning body ordered Munguia to face WBO No.2-ranked middleweight contender Janibek Alimkhanuly on February 22. However, as FightNights.com first reported on March 7, the former junior middleweight titleholder would likely bypass the opportunity for a title shot at reigning WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs). A deal has yet to be reached for the fight, but June 18 is the target date.

While the WBO leadership was frustrated with Munguia and his team, given their prior commitment to a WBO interim middleweight title fight against Alimkhanuly, the news did not come as a surprise to anyone.

The obvious reason is that Charlo has a world title. On the other hand, fighting the unbeaten yet unproven Alimkhanuly at this stage of his career is a simple case of high risk, little reward.

The WBO has now ordered Kazakhstan's Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs)) to face England's Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8 KOs).

Both sides will have to 10 days to reach an agreement, or a purse bid hearing will be held. The minimum acceptable bid for the WBO middleweight division is $200,000. Alimkhanuly is represented by Top Rank and manager and Egis Klimas. Dignum, a southpaw who has knocked out three of his last four opponents, is aligned with MTK Global's Lee Eaton, albeit he just signed with Probellum last month. Therefore, negotiations will pit Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum against Probellum co-founder and former Golden Boy executive Richard Schaefer should the fight move forward.

Alimkhanuly initially became the mandatory challenger to WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs). The WBO ordered that fight last November, but the 2008 Olympian and former two-time 154-pound titleholder jumped to the super middleweight division to accept an interim title bout with England's Zach Parker.

Alimkhanuly was subsequently ordered to face fellow unbeaten contender Esquiva Falcao, but the Brazilian removed himself from the sweepstakes. That led to the offer being presented to Munguia, who moved on to greener pastures.

Alimkhanuly, who made his pro debut in 2016, is coming off a pair of impressive wins, back-to-back eighth-round stoppages over Robert Brant last June and former title contender Hassan N'Dam in November.

Dignum knocked out Grant Dennis in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-round affair last month at York Hall in London.

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