May 21, 2022 - 8:23 pm
After 22 months out of the ring, Jessie Magdaleno just wanted to get his feet back under him and build momentum for his career.
The Las Vegan did that Saturday, winning a unanimous decision over Edy Valencia on the undercard of the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Danny Dignum interim middleweight title fight at Resorts World Las Vegas.
Magdaleno (29-1, 18 knockouts) won by three scorecards of 80-72, taking every round on every judge’s card. But it was still a difficult fight.
Valencia (19-7-6, seven KOs) came forward from the opening bell, and Magdaleno tried to pick his spots to attack on the counter. Magdaleno conceded after the fight that his timing felt a little off, and he had trouble at times landing cleanly. Valencia threw a lot of punches but landed only sporadically when Magdaleno put his back against the ropes.
“I’d grade my performance a ‘C,’ ” Magdaleno said. “I’ve been out for 22 months. Felt a little off on distance and timing. But I know once I get back in there again, I’ll have a lot better performance for my fans. But overall, I’m happy and content with the decision.”
The fight was Magdaleno’s first since a disqualification win over Yenifel Vicente in June 2020. Magdaleno won a 122-pound world title in 2016 with a career-best win over surefire Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire. But Isaac Dogboe knocked him out to take the title a few years later, and Magdaleno has struggled to gain traction up a weight class at 126 pounds.
He said after the fight that he wants to return in August or September with one more stay-busy fight before moving on to a higher level of competition.
“It was a long time off, 22 months,” Magdaleno said. “I wanted a Grade A performance, but I got the decision, got what I wanted and know next time around it’ll be a lot better.”
In the main event, Janibek Alimkhanuly won an interim middleweight belt with a highlight-reel knockout of previously undefeated Danny Dignum.
Alimkhanuly (12-0, eight KOs) dropped Dignum (14-1-1, eight KOs) in the first round and picked up where he left off in the second, pinning him against the ropes and hurting him with a combination. Dignum leaned down, and Alimkhanuly landed a perfect left uppercut. Dignum’s legs gave out, and referee Tony Weeks waved off the fight almost as soon as his body hit the canvas.
Alimkhanuly, of Kazakhstan, now becomes the mandatory challenger for Demetrius Andrade, who holds the WBO middleweight title. But Andrade has mulled a move to 168 pounds, meaning Alimkhanuly could be upgraded to a full titlist without having to take another fight.
Lightweight prospect Jamaine Ortiz got the best win of his career, beating Jamel Herring by unanimous decision.
Both fighters struggled to establish distance in the opening rounds, but Ortiz (16-0-1, eight KOs) had success toward the end of the second round and landed a right hand that stopped Herring (23-4, 11 KOs) in his tracks. The pace slowed as the fight progressed, and the final two rounds turned into a slugfest.
Ortiz won by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 97-93. Herring, a former 130-pound titlist, indicated after the fight that he planned to retire.