With Summer 2023 on the horizon, the sport of boxing will open-up to myriad highly anticipated fights over the next several weeks. This Saturday (May 13), WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly (Kazakhstan, 13-0, 8 KO) will face challenger Steven Butler (Canada, 32-3, 26 KO) in a 12-round bout at California’s Stockton Arena.
Alimkhanuly has held the WBO middleweight belt for almost exactly a year after a second-round knockout of Danny Digum earned him the interim title last May. In Alimkhanuly’s previous five fights, he has been victorious in all, only going the distance once (a UD victory over Denzel Bentley in Alimkhanuly’s most recent match).
Butler, considerably, has more professional fighting experience than Alimkhanuly (36 professional bouts compared to the champ’s 13). The 27-year-old Canadian slugger has won his last four fights consecutively, not suffering a loss since taking on Jose de Jesus Macias in Mexico back in 2021. Still, Butler enters Saturday night as a staggering underdog against Alimkhanuly. Worth mentioning—Butler has not fought on U.S. soil in over four years (2019), where he won a split-decision over Vitalii Kopylenko in Las Vegas.
Alimkhanuly comes into Saturday’s bout as the favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. He is a -2500 favorite while Butler is a 11/1 underdog.
Update 11:11 p.m. The fighters are about to get in the ring, and we should be underway shortly!
Janikbek Alimkhanuly vs. Steven Butler round-by-round results
Round 1: 10-9 Alimkhanuly
Not a ton of activity from either fighter, but some solid lefts to the body by the champion scored, and he held the center of the ring as Butler mostly circled and failed to throw much.
Round 2: Alimkhanuly KO winner at 2:35
The fight should have absolutely been stopped previously, but the three knockdown rule sees Janibek Alimkhanuly retain his title. A series of upper cuts turned Butler into jello legs, but referee Jack Reiss just let it continue. A dominating win after a six-month layoff for the champion, and an embarrassing performance by the official.