Janibek Alimkhanuly makes statement with brutal KO of Steven Butler
Middleweight titleholder Janibek Alimkhanuly wanted to make a statement after a so-so performance in his previous fight, a decision over Denzel Bentley in November.
The 30-year-old Kazakhstani put overmatched challenger Steven Butler down three times in a brutal second round, the third time for good, Saturday night at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.
Alimkhanuly (14-0, 9 KOs) used his post-fight interview to call out the best in and around the 160-pound division.
We could be witnessing something a little bit special 👏🏼
Janibek Alimkhanuly blitzes Steven Butler inside two rounds to retain his WBO 160lbs title 👑
Is he the best middleweight on the planet right now?
🎬 @ESPNRingside#JanibekButler | #knockout pic.twitter.com/zMXtR7mT5e
— IFL TV (@IFLTV) May 14, 2023
“Champions! Boxing superstars! Where are you? I am waiting,” he said. “Let’s fight. I am the most avoided boxer. I am the middleweight king. Let’s go. Let’s fight. I am ready for anybody. Anytime. Anywhere.”
Alimkhanuly making his second defense of his WBO title, used the first round to size up Butler (32-4-1, 26 KOs), although he landed some good body shots in the opening stanza.
Then, about a minute into Round 2, a left uppercut initiated Butler’s demise.
The punch hurt the Canadian badly and a series of follow-up shots put him down. The brave challenger got up on wobbly legs only to go down again from another flurry.
Butler remained in deep trouble when referee Jack Reiss gave him careful look and one more chance to turn the tide.
He couldn’t. One last barrage of hard, accurate blows — capped by a huge left hand from the southpaw — sent Butler to the canvas one more time, prompting Reiss to wave off the fight.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:35 of Round 2.
The way Alimkhanuly sees it his spectacular stoppage put the other titleholders – Jermall Charlo and Erislandy Lara – on notice. He also has a particular 168-pounder in mind as a potential opponent.
Said the one-time world amateur champion: “Canelo [Alvarez] and Charlo, I’m coming.”
In another bout on the card, Jason Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) of Australia defeated Vincent Astrolabio (18-4, 13 KOs) of the Philippines by a majority decision to capture the vacant WBO 118-pound title.
The official scores were 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114.