WBA Regular champion Jamal James plans to show he is an emerging force in the welterweight division when he faces dangerous Russian Radzhab Butaev at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on October 30.
“I’m looking to make a big statement in this fight,” said James (27-1, 12 KOs). “This will be my first title defence 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.
“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. 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. 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.”
Minneapolis favourite James is on a seven-fight win streak since dropping a decision to current WBA Super champion Yordenis Ugas in August 2016. Naturally, a rematch with the man who recently retired Manny Pacquiao is at the forefront of James’s future plans.
“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.”
Main image: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions.