Alimkhanuly-Butler and Moloney-Astrolabio will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. – Undercard Streams Live and Exclusively on ESPN+ at 6:15 p.m. ET/ 3:15 p.m. PT
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN presented by AutoZone presents a world championship doubleheader. Janibek vs. Butler and Moloney vs. Astrolabio, live this Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+. The event takes place at Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA.
The main event features undefeated Kazak phenom Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KOs) defending his WBO middleweight world title against Canadian contender Steven Butler (32-3-1, 26 KOs).
START TIMES: JANIBEK VS. BUTLER
- Date: Saturday, May 13
- Start time: 9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. BST
- Main event ringwalks (approx): 12 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. BST
- Viewers in the U.S. can watch the fight live on ESPN+
- The fight will take place at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.
- The main card is set to get underway at 9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. BST with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 12 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. BST. These timings could change due to the length of the undercard fights.
Janibek, a native of Zhilandy, Kazakhstan, took the fast track to title contention after representing his country in the 2016 Olympics. He captured his first pair of regional titles in 2019 and in 2021 stopped former world champions Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant. In 2022, he captured the interim WBO middleweight title. He was then elevated to world champion after Demetrius Andrade elected to move up in weight rather than defend his title. Last November, Janibek defended his title against Denzel Bentley via a 12-round decision.
Butler is a nine-year pro from Montreal, Canada. He captured the IBF North American title via first-round knockout against Janks Trotter in 2016 before suffering his first defeat against then-undefeated Brandon Cook the following year. Butler bounced back with eight knockout victories before decisioning Vitalii Kopylenko to capture the WBC International middleweight title. Butler is now coming off four wins, two of them by knockout.
In the co-feature for the vacant WBO bantamweight title, former two-time world title challenger Jason “Mayhem” Moloney (25-2, 19 KOs) will take on hard-hitting Filipino contender Vincent Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs).
Undefeated featherweight prospect Amado Fernando Vargas is set to return in a four-rounder on the May 13 undercard of the world championship doubleheader featuring undefeated Kazakh phenom Janikbek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly defending his WBO middleweight world title in the main event against Canadian contender Steven Butler at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.
Vargas (6-0, 2 KOs) is a 22-year-old prospect who made his pro debut in 2021 with a first-round knockout against Hector Montijo Molina in Mexico. In 2022, he made his U.S. debut by defeating Anel Mudo via four-round unanimous decision in May and ended the year with a points victory against Osmar Olmos Hernandez in November. In his last fight, Vargas decisioned Printice Canada over four rounds in April. Trained by his father, former world champion Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas, he is one of three boxing brothers, along with older sibling Fernando Jr. and younger brother and Top Rank-signed lightweight Emiliano.
“I’m very excited. This is my second defense. I prepared very well for this fight. I don’t want to just defend my title. I want to unify titles. I think it’s going to be a great fight this Saturday night.”
“I really enjoyed training at Brickhouse Boxing. In my last fight, I fought all 12 rounds, and I felt like something was missing. So, we added a new conditioning coach, and he has helped me a lot. I had a very good preparation. I really enjoy working with Buddy McGirt at Brickhouse Boxing.”
“I got a new conditioning coach because I understand that it will help me grow. If you keep doing the same things, then you will stay in the same place. I wanted to grow. I wanted to unify. I wanted to fight Jermall Charlo. I wanted to fight Erislandy Lara. In order to do that, I knew that I had to make changes.”
“As a fighter, I really respect him because he says what he thinks. But I’m going to show him that not only will he not be able to knock me out, he won’t even be able to touch me.”
“I’m 100 percent ready. I have a lot of respect for Janibek for giving me the opportunity, but he’ll be making a big mistake if he tries to think past me. I want to knock him out. I want the belt. That’s it.”
“I’ve learned a lot. I started boxing when I was 11 years old. I’m 27 now. So, I have a lot experience behind me. When I put it all together on Saturday night, I’m going to shock the world.”
“This means a lot to me. It’s a dream come true. We have worked a long time for this title shot. And now we have the opportunity this Saturday night to fight for, and win, the title.”
“I’m scared of nobody. I’ve taken risks my whole life. Janibek is a good boxer. I have nothing bad to say about him. But we worked hard in this training camp. I’ve worked hard my entire life for this fight.”
“This means everything to me. I’ve been boxing for nearly 20 years now and chasing this one dream of becoming champion of the world. It’s something I think about every single day of my life. I train so hard. I’ve made so many sacrifices to be in this position. So, I’m ready. Nothing will make me prouder than having that belt wrapped around my waist and sharing this special moment with my family and my team.”
This is a really special moment for us. I’ll be fighting to become world champion this weekend. And my brother, Andrew, will fight for a world title on the Haney vs. Lomachenko card as well. This is an incredible story. Two twin brothers that have been on this journey for nearly 20 years. For us to finally achieve it and to become champions one week apart is incredible.”
“I’m am very determined to take the belt home to the Philippines for my family, my country and my people. I am prepared 100 percent. I am very much ready for this fight.”
“I have this stuffed kangaroo because I will give it to Jason. I have it because I think of Jason as a baby kangaroo.”
Gabriel Flores Jr.
“It feels amazing to be here. It gives me life. It gives me energy. It helps me keep on going. Because when I fight and I win, my whole city wins. My whole city is going in there with me. So, it feels great. I feel so alive here. I can’t wait to repeat 2019.”
“It feels good to finally be on the A-side of the card. To repay the people who have helped me, I always want to perform well. I want to perform at the best. I got to work at the Top Rank Gym for this camp. And everything went well. I really can’t wait to show what I’ve been working on.”
Amado Fernando Vargas
“Training camp has been phenomenal. I’ve been working with Gabriel Flores and his father. They’ve been helping me out tremendously in camp with my boxing. And, of course, my father Fernando Vargas has been helping us. He showed me how to throw my first punch, and now we’re here together on the big stage.”
ALIMKHANULY – BUTLER CARD
- (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) • Janibek Alimkhanuly 159.2 lbs. vs. Steven Butler 159.6 lbs
(Janibek’s WBO Middleweight World Title — 12 Rounds)
• Jason Moloney 117.8 lbs vs. Vincent Astrolabio 117.2 lbs
(Vacant WBO Bantamweight World Title — 12 Rounds)
(ESPN+, 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT)
• Gabriel Flores Jr. 134.4 lbs vs. Derrick Murray 134.4 lbs
(Lightweight — 8 Rounds)
• Javier Martinez 161.2 lbs vs. Joeshon James 161.2 lbs
(Middleweight — 8 Rounds)
• Ruben Villa 126.4 lbs vs. Maickol Lopez Villagrana 126.6 lbs
(Featherweight— 8 Rounds)
• Amado Fernando Vargas 129.4 lbs vs. Bernardo Manzano 129.6 lbs
(Junior Lightweight — 4 Rounds)
• Brian Norman Jr. 148 lbs vs. Jesus Perez 147 lbs
(Welterweight — 8 Rounds)