When Filipino great Manny Pacquiao defied the odds and dethroned Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman to become WBA super welterweight titlist he created a vacant regular title that will be contested by two superb Russian former amateur boxers with near-identical records as professionals. Alexander Besputin (13-0-0, 9 Ko’s) vs Radzhab Butaev (12-0-0, 9 Ko’s) will take place at the Casino de Monte Carlo on Saturday, November 30th on Matchroom Boxing’s ‘Monte-Carlo Showdown’ event which will be shown in the UK by Sky Sports and in the USA by DAZN.
The 27-year-old Besputin hails from Kamensk-Uralsky, Russia and now lives and trains in Oxnard, California. With a glittering un-paid career that included 300 bouts with only 15 defeats, he is currently trained by Marcos Contreras at the Boxing Laboratory Gym.
It is quite normal now to see successful former amateur stars from Eastern Europe pushed into world-class at an abnormally fast pace, due mainly to the fact that they have so much amateur experience and have fought in the World Series of Boxing where there are no head guards and the bouts are contested over the 5 round distance, in other words, professional fights against the best amateurs in the world.
Besputin’s 13 pro wins have come against quality opposition as there was no need to learn much more than how to pace himself over the longer distances. In only his 7th pro outing, Besputin faced 39 fight veteran Breidis Prescott, outpointing the Columbian over 8 rounds and has looked like he enjoys the pro game as much as the amateurs. He is an aggressive southpaw who constantly changes angle to confuse his opposition,
Radzhab Butaev was born in Salsk, Russia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Butaev also had a successful amateur career, but while he never took part in the bigger events he did have nine bouts in the World Series of Boxing ending with an 8-1 tally. The 25-year old nicknamed ‘The Python’ is quick and smart, he is happy to box out of a crouch with a high guard, or upright with his hands by his side. This ability to change tactics mid-round causes his opponents problems and coupled with good punching power has accounted for a high knockout ratio.
Both Butaev and Besputin are already very solid pros and it is hard to pick between them. They both take a good shot and both like to go after their prey, so who has the edge?
Butaev is more likely to leave himself open to counters due to the fact that he fights to score knockouts. He does tend to over-commit himself at times and this is where Besputin’s extra experience may come through. This is a tough one to call.
Prediction: Besputin to win on a close decision.