Saturday night in Stockton, California, unbeaten WBO Middleweight champ Janibek Alimkhanuky will make his second defense. And, the champion from Kazakhstan wants to make clear that the top fights in the division must now go through him.
First, Janibek will face Canadian Steven Butler in the Top Rank Boxing main event to be televised by ESPN. It’s a bout that we previewed on our latest “Big Fight Weekend Preview Podcast.” Hear Dan Rafael’s thoughts on this matchup and what are the bigger bouts awaiting the Kazak in the short term by clicking below,
Janibek said this through a Top Rank press release earlier this week about the state of the middleweight division,
“I give all the credit to Steven Butler for accepting this fight. In a division full of ducks, Butler is a true warrior. I know he will come to fight, and we will give the fans a great show.”
“Demetrius Andrade gave up his title to avoid fighting me. He ran eight pounds up the scale. He is the ultimate duck. Jaime Munguia turned down a shot at the title to fight weaker opposition. They are the two ducks, but I am the champion now,” Janibek continued.
“I called out the division’s other champions, and they didn’t answer. Butler answered the call. I am fighting Saturday to prove a point. I will knock out Butler in devastating fashion.”
“The middleweight division runs through me now. I am here to stay. While the other champions continue not to fight, I will challenge the best and knock out everyone in my path.”
Janibek, 13-0, 8 KOs, won his last bout by decision, though Britain’s Denzel Bentley stood up to his power. He had won the WBO interim middleweight world title last May with a second-round destruction of Danny Dignum. Alimkhanuky was elevated to world champion status, when, as Janibek referenced above, Andrade vacated the world title.
As for the Canadian Butler, 32-3-1, 26 KOs, has won four straight bouts, all in Canada, since suffering back to back defeats. Now, we’ll see if he can last like Bentley did or will Janibek make the statement with he big punches that he hopes to make in a marquee spot?