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Andrei Mikhailovich says Janibek Alimkhanuly is just a man, not a monster ahead of July 13 world title challenge

Russian-born New Zealand middleweight contender Andrei Mikhailovich 21-0 (13) will get the opportunity to stamp himself the best 160-pounder in the world when he challenges WBO and IBF champion Janibek Alimkhanuly 15-0 (10) at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 13.

“I feel fantastic. I feel great, I feel alive, I feel ready. This is my moment, this is my destiny. This is what I’ve trained years for. If there was a city built for me to fight in, that city would be Las Vegas,” the 26-year-old Mikhailovich told The Ring.

“I’m a natural born performer and it’s just what I do, baby. To me, it’s an amazing deal that I get to fight for a world title, but it’s not like the biggest thing in the world. It’s awesome, but to me, it’s just another day in paradise.”

Mikhailovich is under no illusion about the task in front of him. The 31-year-old Alimkhanuly of Kazakhstan was a world class amateur and he has brought that form over to the pros, dominating his opponents from the southpaw stance.

“First of all I’m going to say I’ve got a lot of respect for Janibek,” Mikhailovich said. “I think he’s a fantastic fighter. I think he’s an amazing southpaw, he’s got an extensive amateur background and he’s a unified world champion for a reason.

“I’m going to have to up my game and dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s and look under any and every rock. So of course I have to be more diligent, I’ve got to be extremely focused, 24/7, 365, but it’s all part of the job, man.

“But to me, the excitement is bringing that next level of focus, dial in on a few more things, stylistic things for this fight. And yeah, at the end of the day it’s just a fight. Regardless of what’s happening or what’s at stake, it’s just me and him in the ring and what will happen, will happen. He will find what he wants to do and I’ll find what I want to do and we’ll just mix and match.

“It’s just a game of chess and whoever gets the checkmate is the winner.”

Mikhailovich added that the southpaw stance of the champion won’t be a problem for him, as he has boxed many leftys himself.

“In terms of angles and ideas fighting a southpaw, you can read up and study it all you want. I think three of my last five fights have been against southpaws,” he said.

“But it’s like this, man. If you think it’s going to be a big thing, it will be a big thing. If you don’t think it will be a big deal, it won’t be a big deal.

“It’s all about conceptualizing. If I think that table will be too heavy for me to lift, it will be far too heavy to lift. But if I think it’s just a table, I’m sure with the right attitude and the right leverage, I can move it.

“Don’t over-complicate it, man.

“We over-complicate a lot of things in life and make it into a huge deal. That’s why a lot of fighters drown when they fight for a world title. They make it into this huge ordeal, ‘I’m fighting King Kong!’ They’ve got to prepare for King Kong but King Kong is a gorilla; I’m just fighting a man.”