The middleweight division will see two of the four world titles unified on Saturday, October 14th as the WBO world champion Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly (14-0, 9 KOs) will face unbeaten IBF world champion Vincenzo Gualtieri (21-0-1, 7 KOs) at the Fort Bend Epicenter in Rosenberg, Texas.
Yet at Thursday's press conference, the fight wasn't the biggest news for Alimkhanuly, as it was the fact that he is no longer training with Buddy McGirt. The news which hasn't been public knowledge prior came as a shock to some.
“I changed my trainer for this fight," said Janibek at the press conference today. "We got all the knowledge that we could from Buddy McGirt, and now we have a new trainer in Brian Viloria. We are doing new workouts and learning new things. We’re also adding things to my style. On Saturday night, you’ll see a new side of me.”
Viloria, a former world champion is building up a stable of fighters which includes his family member, and stand-out amateur turned professional Justin Viloria. Alimkhanuly, the WBO world champion, seems excited about what the future holds for him. Alimkhanuly has been refining his techniques and incorporating new elements into his skill set and strategy that have come from his collaboration with Viloria. Despite it being their very first training camp together, Alimkhanuly is confident that the changes will be seen quickly.
“My new trainer was a world champion, so he knows what this is about," said Janibek. "It was our first camp together, so we couldn’t add too much, but I’ll show what I learned in the ring on Saturday night.”
His opponent on Saturday night, the IBF middleweight champion Gualtieri for putting his title on the line, setting the stage for what Alimkhanuly hopes to be the start of his attempt to unify the entire middleweight division.
"It’s going to be a very good fight," said Janibek. "I want to thank my opponent for bringing his title into this battle. I expect it to be a very good fight on Saturday night. I will once again show what ‘Qazaq Style’ is.”
Not to be outdone, Gualtieri mentioned that he had a top-notch training camp including 'more sparring partners' than other training camps, and that he feels that he is being underestimated.
A big question come Saturday night will be how will the new relationship between Alimkhanuly and his new coach, Brian Viloria play out. Will it be noticeable, will it be seamless? These are things to watch for when you have a talented fighter, who is changing things up at the highest level as he is heading into one of the fights that will define his career.