Monday, July 15, 2024  |


Janibek Alimkhanuly stops Steven Butler in two, defends WBO middleweight title

Janibek Alimkhanuly (L) and Steven Butler (R) face-off during the weigh in prior to their May 13 WBO middleweight title bout in Manteca, California. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

Janibek Alimkhanuly defended his WBO middleweight title against Steven Butler in Stockton, California on Saturday. The fight was streamed live on ESPN+ and headlined a Top Rank show. Alimkhanuly (14-0, 9 KOs), who is ranked third by Ring Magazine, scored an electrifying second round knockout of Butler (32-4-1, 26 KOs), marking a return to form after the Kazakhstan native’s underwhelming decision victory against Denzel Bentley last November.

Near the mid-point of round two, Butler stepped in and Alimkhanuly landed a massive uppercut that put the Canadian puncher down. Butler, ,who had been stopped by Ryota Murata in a previous title shot, was able to beat the count but was badly hurt and on unstable legs.

After the referee gave his once over of Butler, Alimkhanuly came out firing. Butler leaned against the ropes and tried to clinch up to survive the barrage coming his way. A warning from the referee later, Alimkhanuly landed a massive 1-2 that knocked down Butler again. Beating the count for the second time, the referee warned Butler that he had one more chance before he called the fight off.

With only thirty seconds left, Alimkhanuly continued the onslaught. He entered on a jab, then followed up with another jab and a left cross to send Butler crashing to the canvas for the third and final time.

Earlier in the week, Alimkhanuly told Ring Magazine, “I need all four belts in my division. It is my goal. Of course, I would love to fight Charlo. And I want this fight. I need big names.” Later in the same interview, he mentioned Jermall Charlo, the WBC World Middleweight champion, as a possible opponent. He echoed these sentiments in his post fight interview when he called out Charlo and Canelo at super middleweight.