The Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas hosts championship action this Saturday, as Jamal James defends his WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title against Radzhab Butaev in the main event, live on SHOWTIME in the USA.
James (27-1, 12 KOs) was elevated from interim champion to ‘regular’ titlist in February after Yordenis Ugas became “super” champion, consolidating his position. after upsetting Manny Pacquiao in August.
Incidentally, Minneapolis-based James’ sole career defeat came at the hands of Ugas back in 2016, dropping a wide points verdict, but he is on a run of seven straight wins since that setback, beating Thomas Dulorme last time out and makes a first defence of his belt against the tough Butaev.
Based in Brooklyn, ‘The Python’ has contested the WBA strap before, coming up short in a bid for the vacant title in a points loss to Alexander Besputin in November 2019 in Monaco, but the result was changed to a no contest after Besputin failed a post-fight drug test.
Butaev (13-0, 10 KOs) has fought once since, knocking out Terry Chatwood in three rounds in December last year.
Prediction: This is a tough one to call, with there being a case for either man to take the win. I lean towards James to get the job done, as he has the slight advantage in experience. It could be a close one on the cards though.
Ennis clashes with Dulorme
The talented Jaron Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) is in the co-main event, and the big-punching Philadelphian takes on faded, former fringe contender, Thomas Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs) over a scheduled ten rounds at welterweight.
‘Boots’ Ennis is fast becoming a serious challenger for titles at ten stone seven, and another statement win here will edge him closer.
The 24-year-old was last out in April, blasting out Sergey Lipinets in six rounds, and he carries power in either hand. Dulorme challenged for world honours in April 2015, but was stopped in six by Terence Crawford at 140lbs, and the Puerto Rican has also lost to Yordenis Ugas and Jamal James, both on the cards.
The 31-year-old is coming off a twelve round loss to Elimantas Stanionis in April and was set to face Ennis in December, but tested positive for COVID-19.
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Prediction: Ennis should be able to send out yet another warning shot, and can remove Dulorme from battle around the halfway mark.
A second ten rounder sees Michel Rivera (21-0, 14 KOs) take on Jose Matias Romero (24-1, 8 KOs).
Rivera had to come off the canvas in his last outing, eventually knocking out Jon Fernandez in eight, while Romero is coming off a first pro loss to Isaac Cruz in March.
Prediction: Rivera can score a competitive win on the scorecards.
The final welterweight battle is an eight rounder, and Argentina’s Alberto Palmetta (16-1, 12 KOs) meets Colombia’s Yeis Gabriel Solano (15-1, 10 KOs).
Prediction: Palmetta is on a run of ten straight stoppage wins, and can add another against Solano, who suffered a ten round points loss to Mykquan Williams in his last fight.
At featherweight, Jose Tito Sanchez (7-0, 5 KOs) may need all six rounds to take care of Fernando Garcia (13-3, 8 KOs), and at super lightweight, Jean Carlos Torres (19-0, 15 KOs) can see off Darwin Price (17-1, 10 KOs) inside schedule.