Janibek Alimkhanuly didn’t waste any time with his latest opponent.

Almost as flawless as his second-round knockout of Montreal’s Steven Butler was the ever-proving English he spoke to call out the biggest names in and around the middleweight division.

“Canelo, [Jermall] Charlo, where are you,” Kazakhstan’s Alimkhanuly rhetorically asked following the second defense of his WBO middleweight title this past Saturday in Stockton, California. “I am ready for anybody. Anybody, anytime, anywhere.”

Alimkhanuly (14-0, 9KOs) resumed his knockout ways in this past Saturday’s ESPN headliner after going the full distance in his previous appearance last November 12 in Las Vegas.

The boogeyman stigma that surrounded the Kazakh southpaw was somewhat stripped away after being made to look ordinary in a twelve-round, unanimous decision over England’s Denzel Bentley. Alimkhanuly stopped his previous six opponents, including a second-round knockout of unbeaten Danny Dignum to win the interim WBO middleweight title last May 21 in Vegas.

An upgrade to full titlist came about last summer after Demetrius Andrade vacated the belt, putting an end to a saga that began on November 30, 2021, when the WBO ordered a mandatory middleweight title fight. Andrade twice stalled talks before he abdicated the throne to instead compete at super middleweight.

Alimkhanuly’s efforts to land a fight with Tijuana’s Jaime Munguia (41-0, 33KOs) also ended in two failed attempts. Both were brief, as Munguia’s handlers declined to enter negotiations on either occasion.

Hopes to land a more significant challenger for his second title defense proved futile for Alimkhanuly and his team—promoter Top Rank and manager Egis Klimas. A mandatory title fight was ordered by the WBO, summoning England’s Liam Smith to enter negotiations, though talks never went far as Smith was contractually bound to a rematch with bitter rival Chris Eubank Jr.  

Butler (32-4-1, 26KOs) was the lone taker but had to wait until the WBO placed him in its middleweight rankings for the fight to become official. Their May 13 meeting was every bit the blowout that was suggested in the lopsided odds, as Alimkhanuly scored three knockdowns to force the stoppage.

The hope now is to avoid the follies that have preceded the finalization of his last three bouts. Fights with Guadalajara's Alvarez (59-2-2, 39KOs) and divisional titlists Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22KOs, WBC title) and Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17KOs, WBA title) are now in his sights.

“Champions and boxing superstars, where are you,” Alimkhanuly questioned in perfect English. “I’m waiting, let’s go. I am the most avoided boxer, the middleweight king. I’m ready, let’s go. Top Rank, who is next?”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox