Janibek Alimkhanuly destroyed Steven Butler inside two rounds to retain the WBO middleweight title – before calling out Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and undisputed light-middleweight champion Jermell Charlo as he challenged boxing’s best to face him.
Kazakh fighter Alimkhanuly took his record to 14-0 with a ninth knockout of his career, flooring Canadian Butler three times in quick succession with his dominance sparked by a powerful left uppercut.
Butler managed to stay on his feet after that initial shot but fell after a flurry of further left hands, and referee Jack Reiss waved off the fight after Butler hit the canvas twice more.
Butler landed two punches in the entire fight, compared to his opponent’s 25, as he was completely dominated by a man who proclaimed himself the “middleweight king”.
“Champions and the boxing superstars, where are you?” Alimkhanuly told ESPN. “I’m waiting. Let’s fight.
“I am the most-avoided boxer. I am the middleweight king. Let’s go, fight. Top Rank, who is next?”
Elsewhere on the bill at the Stockton Arena in California, Australia’s Jason Moloney outpointed Vincent Astrolabio of the Philippines to claim the vacant WBO bantamweight title.
Moloney had lost previous full world title bouts to Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018 and Naoya Inoue in 2020 but triumphed at the third time of asking despite suffering what he believed was a broken hand in the opening quarter of the fight.
The 32-year-old said: “It hurt every time I threw it. But I knew this was my last chance to make my dream come true.”
Moloney’s record is now 26-2.