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Jamal James out to prove he’s a major player in welterweight division

James is set to take on Radzhab Butaev in an October 30 Showtime main event.

PBC on Bounce TV: Jamal James v Juan Carlos Abreu Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

With welterweight Jamal James set to take on Radzhab Butaev in an October 30th main event airing on Showtime, James says he’s been preparing himself to put on a performance that will convince the public he’s a real force in the division.

“I’m looking to make a big statement in this fight,” said James. “This will be my first title defense and my first time fighting on SHOWTIME and in Las Vegas. My whole mindset is to come out and show out, so that everyone knows I’m a major player in this division. I have to prove to everyone why I deserve the biggest fights.”

Standing opposite of James that night will be Butaev, who James says he’s has had plenty of time to prepare for, taking time to tighten up some aspects of his game as he expects Butaev to bring the pressure on fight night.

“We’ve known that Butaev is the opponent for a while, so we’ve been training for a long time and I’ve been in great shape all camp,” said James. “We’re just working on our different tools and perfecting them for the fight ahead. We know that everyone is coming for us since I have the title now, so I’m just doing whatever I have to do so that I’m ready on October 30.”

“Like any other fighter, Butaev has two arms, two legs and a head,” said James. “All of these guys are coming with their A-games. He has strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. I know he’ll come in there strong and try to test me. He’ll probably try to get inside on me. It’s my job to out-box him and beat him.”

Should James win this fight he’ll be in line to take on the winner of an ordered fight between Yordenis Ugas and Eimantas Stanionis in an effort to crown only one WBA world champion within the division. James says he’d prefer if he gets the chance to face Ugas so he can avenge his previous loss to the Cuban.

“I’d like the rematch with Ugas coming off his big win against Pacquiao,” said James. “He’s fought the top guys and I’ve fought him before, but it was under less-than-ideal circumstances. I’d like to see what a fight between us would look like after both of us have had a full camp. I haven’t been able to get anyone like Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter yet, and those are the biggest fights in the division. I’d love to face one of those guys that are already considered the best at welterweight so that I can really prove myself.”

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