Radzhab Butaev books place in World Boxing Association tournament final

Radzhab Butaev World Boxing Association

Esther Lin

Radzhab Butaev defeated Jamal James to book his place in the World Boxing Association tournament final at 147 pounds.

Unbeaten Butaev earned a ninth-round stoppage victory over “Shango” to capture the WBA Welterweight Championship Saturday night live on SHOWTIME.

The Premier Boxing Champions event happened at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

“This is very important for me,” said Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs). “It’s a big first step.

“It’s always been my dream to become a world champion. I took the first step today, and I’m certainly very happy.”

Butaev was able to overcome his rangier opponent with patience and a brutal body attack. While James (27-2, 12 KOs) controlled the initial action with activity, Butaev stalked his opponent and slowly closed down the distance.

The bout began to turn distinctly in Butaev’s favor in round four, as the body punches slowed James’ output and left him vulnerable to Butaev’s offense.

James looked to keep Butaev at bay with awkward movement, which eventually led to referee Celestino Ruiz deducting a point from Butaev in the fifth round.

The deduction did not deter Butaev from coming forward, as he continued to pour on punches and began to bloody James’ face on top of the damage he had dispensed to the body.

Furthermore, Butaev out-landed James 175-121 according to CompuBox, including 36 body shots and 46 to 36 edge in jabs landed.

“We worked hard on switching up and did it in sparring, and it worked, so we kept doing it,” said Butaev. “I felt it could have ended a lot worse.

“I thought it was stopped at the right time. Tonight he showed a lot of heart. He showed a lot of heart tonight.”

Radzhab Butaev
Esther Lin

WORLD BOXING ASSOCIATION FINAL

James continued to try to find a punch to change the tide but could not display enough power to keep Butaev from coming forward.

Eventually, with blood pouring out of James’ nose, the referee jumped in during a Butaev flurry and waived the fight 2:12 into the ninth round.

“I’m good. It just wasn’t my night tonight,” said James. “A big shout out to Butaev. He did his thing tonight.

“I’d instead go out on my shield if I’m going to go out. I thought it was a very competitive fight, but that’s why we have a referee.

“He was just a better man tonight. I don’t want to make any excuses. I couldn’t keep him at the range, and I think rust played a part in it.

“But that’s boxing. Sometimes it’s not your night.”

Butaev will now meet World Boxing Association super champion Yordenis Ugas or Eimantas Stanionis once that fight gets completed in the other semi-final.

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