Prospect Watch: Radzhab Butaev

"The Python"
Radzhab Butaev dropping his opponent.

Russian National, European, and World University champion; allegedly 392-8 as an amateur; 9-1 in the World Series of Boxing; and a 2016 Olympics qualifier. “The Python” has accomplished quite a bit before passing up that year’s Summer Games and breaking into the paid ranks at a spritely 22 years of age. He’s now 24, and 8 fights and 6 knockouts into one of the toughest careers a man could pursue.

Butaev hails from Khasavyurt, a city known for brick making in the Republic of Dagestan, a part of the Russian Federation. Generally, it’s wrestlers that these mountain men from the Caucasus become, but boxing has become a frequent secondary option, which Artur Beterbiev and other recent transplants highlight. The ascending welterweight wasn’t lured into the ring by some regional call, however, he was convinced to don a pair of leather gloves after watching “Iron” Mike Tyson tear much of his opposition to threads on video.

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While Butaev fights little like his boxing idol, he does display power punching and an instinct to finish his prey that Tyson would appreciate. Stylistically he is similar to that of many of his countrymen, generally coming forward, creating openings with an active left hand, popping off accurate rights—all while remaining defensively sound. What sticks out from the footage most is his penchant for banging the breadbasket with right hooks. It’s a rarely used punch nowadays and reminds a hardcore fan of a time long ago.

One must admire his approach to the game, as well. Butaev has wasted little time moving up the ranks, raking up wins over competition that holds an overall of 135-39 in the win-loss department. None have amounted to even the level of gatekeeper status, but a few have been serviceable. His next foe, Ramses Agaton, 20-8-3, 10 KOs, will represent his biggest step yet. Agaton has mixed it up with several up-and-comers—Konstantin Ponomarev, Carlos Ocampo, Custio Clayton, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, and more—and hung in there, so we should have a good gauge as to where the Russian aggressor is at in terms of progress.

With any division it needs a renewed grant on life by pumping new blood into. 147 is starting to hurt for real contenders after a thinning due to aged legends and inactive players. Radzhab Butaev may well represent the next stream of divisional threats.

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