Alexander Besputin took a decision over Radzhab Butaev today in Monte Carlo, headlining a DAZN-streamed show and winning the vacant WBA “world” welterweight title with the victory.
Besputin (14-0, 9 KO) won on scores of 116-112 across the board. Bad Left Hook had the fight even at 114-114, but the decision comes without controversy, as the better argument for a winner belonged to Besputin, who won the clearer rounds for the most part.
Besputin, 28, was the shorter man here, but his constant movement and activity gave Butaev (12-1, 9 KO) some real problems. When Butaev was able to get Besputin to stand a bit more still, he landed what seemed to be the harder blows, and he also looked like he had perhaps the better chin.
But Besputin’s workrate and constant motion won him the fight; at times he was really able to befuddle the 25-year-old Butaev and keep him from doing much of anything, and that carried it in the eyes of the judges. The most exciting moments of the bout came late in the ninth round, when both were throwing bombs. Butaev got the better of that exchange, which is really what Besputin didn’t want to happen.
The win perhaps doesn’t make Besputin a top 10 welterweight despite the bogus belt (Manny Pacquiao has the real WBA title), but he’s not far outside of that, either, at worst. Considering the back end of the top 10 at 147 isn’t really that impressive, you could argue him in now.
Cecilia Braekhus UD-10 Victoria Bustos
Bustos (19-6, 0 KO) had nothing here for Braekhus (36-0, 9 KO), who cruised again on scores of 98-92, 98-92, and 99-91 to retain all four of her welterweight titles. Braekhus is 38 and is clearly slowing down some in the ring, but she’s still head and shoulders above the rest of the field at 147 pounds. This was also her first fight in just barely under a year; she’s running out of people to fight at welterweight, but there has been talk of a big bout with Katie Taylor, who has won titles at 135 and 140 and could risk a move to 147 if they think the fight is winnable, which it may be at this stage.
This was not an entertaining fight, much like Braekhus’ last bout, because there was simply never any doubt as to the outcome.
“The future is Katie Taylor against Cecilia Braekhus,” promoter Eddie Hearn said after the bout. “I think another fight for both in the spring, and then a summer fight (between them). It’s the biggest fight in boxing.”
Zhilei Zhang UD-10 Andriy Rudenko
Zhilei (21-0, 16 KO) was originally supposed to fight Sergey Kuzmin, who might’ve been a tougher out, but Rudenko (32-5, 20 KO) wasn’t a bad late sub at all. The big question was really gas tank with the 36-year-old Zhilei, who had never gone past six, and Rudenko is a guy who’s never been stopped, and has gone 12 with some decent or better fighters.
Zhilei definitely gassed late in the fight, but Rudenko, also 36, didn’t do much with it. Zhang landed the better shots, clearly won the vast majority of the rounds, and stays undefeated on scores of 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91. He seems extremely likely to have trouble with better heavyweights, but he showed a good ability to control distance here, and there’s no question he won.