Welterweights Jamal James and Jaron “Boots” Ennis have their returns official now, as Showtime have announced their Oct. 30 tripleheader from Las Vegas, featuring the two in separate bouts.
James (27-1, 12 KO) will defend his secondary WBA title against Radzhab Butaev (13-0, 10 KO), while the exciting young star Ennis (27-0, 25 KO) faces veteran Thomas Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KO) in the co-feature.
The card will open with a lightweight bout between Michel Rivera (21-0, 14 KO) and Matias Romero (24-1, 8 KO).
“Training is and has been at 100%,” said James. “I’m excited to finally get back in the ring and defend my title. This will be the fight where I show everyone why I’m elite in this profession and should be recognized as one of the best.”
With a win, James could set himself up for a possible rematch with Yordenis Ugas, who holds the WBA’s real welterweight title. Ugas upset James back in 2016, when the Cuban was brought in following a layoff of over two years and two straight losses as a 140 lb fighter. That win put Ugas on the path to where he is now, recognized as one of the world’s top welterweights.
But the 27-year-old Butaev, a Russian based in Brooklyn, is not an opponent to overlook. He did lose to Alexander Besputin back in Nov. 2019, but that was changed to a no-contest when Besputin failed drug tests. He’s fought once since, returning last December with a win.
“We’ve been working hard for a year leading up to this fight,” said Butaev. “Everything is going really well in camp and we’re excited to finally get in the ring against James. I’ve seen how James fights and it’s definitely going to be a clash of styles. I can just promise that I’m going to bring the war and make this an exciting fight. I’m going to start writing my history.”
Philadelphia’s “Boots” Ennis is one of the hottest young stars in the sport, and a clear rising contender at 147 lbs. He, too, could put himself in the mix for a big fight with a win this time out.
“This is another step towards becoming world champion! They haven’t seen nothing yet,” Ennis said. “It’s time for me to continue to shine and be great. I can’t wait to show out and have some fun.”
Dulorme, a young vet at 31, is battle-tested and still a tough fighter who can give opponents a real test. He’s lost two in a row and is just 1-3-1 in his last five, but the losses were to Ugas, James, and Eimantas Stanionis — who is expected to face Ugas next — and the draw came against former titlist Jessie Vargas.
“I think in the Stanionis fight I demonstrated that I am still at the top level,” said Dulorme. “A lot of people told me I won that fight and I thought I did too. I’m excited to face Ennis because he’s a good fighter, but he hasn’t fought anyone like me. The fans can expect another great performance from me.”
Rivera, a Dominican lightweight and another rising contender, had a highlight reel KO in his last outing in July, and will look to build from that and keep his name in the mix in the hot 135 lb division.
“Romero made a big mistake taking this fight,” said Rivera. “What he’s seen from me in the gym, is not the same thing that he’s going to see on fight night. He is far from a fight night fighter. He folds under pressure or runs. He is a good fighter, but he’s not at my level. I won’t let him go the distance like Isaac Cruz did. I’m going to give him the beating of his lifetime.”
As Rivera mentioned, Romero went the distance in a very competitive loss to Isaac Cruz in March, and now will try to get a big win.
“Rivera and I have the same promoter and I personally requested for Sampson Lewkowicz to let me fight him when I saw he had no opponent,” said Romero. “I am willing to step in because I know I can beat him. We have trained at the same gym, but never sparred. His style is perfect for my style. This is going to be another victory for me to add to my collection.”