More than seven months after being cheated in the ring, Radzhab Butaev is once again denied just due in his bid to become a welterweight titlist.
Measures taken by the World Boxing Association (WBA) to free up its secondary version of the welterweight title appeared to have favored the Russian contender. Included among the list of activities during the 99th annual WBA convention was the sanctioning body electing to strip Alexander Besputin (14*-0, 9KOs) of its “Regular” title. The unbeaten Russian scored a narrow win over Butaev in their vacant title fight last November, but tested positive for the banned substance Ligandrol.
The logical next step would have been for Butaev to return to his place in the welterweight rankings prior to the tainted title fight (rated number two at the time), thus facing the next highest ranked contender for the vacant strap.
Instead, it will be Yordenis Ugas (25-4, 12KOs)—the sanctioning body’s number-one contender—who will vie for the “Regular” title. The 33-year old Cuban will face Abel Ramos (26-3-2, 20KOs) of Casa Grande, Arizona for the vacant strap, with Butaev designated as the mandatory challenger in waiting to face the winner.
Ugas and Ramos both fighter under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner.
Ramos has won eight straight fights, including a literal last-second stoppage of Bryant Perrella this past February in Nashville, Tennessee. Ramos was trailing on all three scorecards heading into the 10th and final round of their Fox-televised clash before scoring two late knockdowns, the latter of the two rendering Perrella unable to continue in the eyes of veteran referee Jack Reiss.
Ugas has won two straight since a narrow defeat to then-WBC welterweight titlist Shawn Porter last March in Carson, California. The defeat to Porter snapped an eight-fight win streak largely spent wreaking havoc upon PBC welterweight prospects since returning to the sport in 2016 following a two-year absence.
A 12-round near shutout of then-unbeaten Omar Figueroa last July placed Ugas back in contention, having since marked time with a 7th round stoppage of Mike Dallas Jr. this past February in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Butaev (12-1*, 9KOs) has not fought since the aforementioned loss to his disgraced countryman.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox