With all of the drug testing facts now out in the open, the next step for Radzhab Butaev is to revisit his lifelong dream of winning a major title.
The 26-year old welterweight contender from Khasavyurt, Russia—who now fights out of Brooklyn, New York—was forced to wait seven months for justice stemming from a vacant title fight loss to countryman Alexander Besputin last November. The initially declared unanimous decision was cast in shame after Besputin (14-0, 9KOs) tested positive for the banned substance Ligandrol.
The ordering of his “B” sample to be tested was delayed by several months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but reached resolution on June 23, confirming the original test result. It was never in doubt for Butaev (12-1*, 9KOs), who simply wants to move forward with his career.
“It was a big relief, because Butaev was very disappointed for months,” Vadim Kornilov, Butaev’s manager told BoxingScene.com. “After he lost, he felt like his lifelong dream was gone and didn’t know when he would get that opportunity again.
“None of us were surprised by the test result, or that the “B” sample confirmed (Besputin) tried to cheat to win. We’re just glad to put that behind us and move on with Butaev’s career.”
The secondary version of the WBA title that was at stake (Manny Pacquiao is the sanctioning body’s “Super” champion at welterweight) is now back in play as the result of the concluded investigation. The next step will be for the loss to be scrubbed clean from Butaev’s record while he awaits word on his next potential opponent for the once-again vacant title.
“We are in discussion for that,” notes Kornilov. “It’s very possible that we wind up fighting Yordenis Ugas, he is the current number-one contender and is always willing to fight anyone.”
Cuba’s Ugas (25-4, 12KOs)—who is now based in Miami—was previously in negotiations with Besputin for a title shot prior to the news of the drug testing results becoming public knowledge. The veteran contender—who turns 34 in July—has maintained the number-one spot in the WBA welterweight rankings.
“We are fine with fighting Ugas, or anybody else for the world title,” Kornilov insists.
As much is echoed by the fighter himself.
“I hope that the WBA will issue their resolution on this situation and announce my opponent for the world title soon,” insists Butaev, who has not fought since the aforementioned clash with Besputin last November in Monte Carlo. “I am ready to go, I will fight anybody. It doesn’t matter to me, I just want my fair and clean chance to achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a world champion.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox