WBA Welterweight Champion Jamal “Shango” James will defend his title against unbeaten contender Radzhab Butaev in a 12-round duel that headlines a night of action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, October 30 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis in a 10-round showdown against veteran contender Thomas Dulorme in the co-main event. Kicking off the telecast, exciting unbeaten lightweight contender Michel Rivera faces Argentina’s Matías Romero in a 10-round attraction.
Minneapolis’ James (27-1, 12 KOs) returns to action after his previous outing saw him earn an interim title by defeating Thomas Dulorme in August 2020, before later being upgraded to the “regular” championship. The 33-year-old is riding a seven-bout winning streak that includes triumphs over Abel Ramos, Diego Gabriel Chaves and Antonio DeMarco, with four of those matchups coming in his hometown, where he has grown a rabid fan base. With a win on October 30, James moves nearer to a potential rematch of his first and only defeat against WBA Welterweight World Champion Yordenis Ugas.
“Training is and has been at 100%,” said James. “I’m excited to finally get back in the ring and defend my title. This will be the fight where I show everyone why I’m elite in this profession and should be recognized as one of the best.”
The 27-year-old Butaev (13-0, 10 KOs) will finally square off against James in a long-awaited matchup ordered by the WBA. Butaev turned pro after approximately 400 amateur bouts in 2016 and reeled-off KOs in six of his first seven outings. Originally from Russia and now fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y., Butaev returned to the ring in December 2020, stopping previously unbeaten Terry Chatwood in the third round.
“We’ve been working hard for a year leading up to this fight,” said Butaev. “Everything is going really well in camp and we’re excited to finally get in the ring against James. I’ve seen how James fights and it’s definitely going to be a clash of styles. I can just promise that I’m going to bring the war and make this an exciting fight. I’m going to start writing my history on October 30.”
Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) is the latest in the pantheon of outstanding Philadelphia fighters, combining sublime boxing skills with natural power in both hands. After numerous appearances on ShoBox: The New Generation, the 24-year-old Ennis graduated to headlining his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast in his last outing in April, as he became the first fighter to stop former world champion Sergey Lipinets. The knockout victory gave Ennis 17 KOs in his last 18 fights, with the only blemish being a no-decision in the first round against Chris van Heerden in December 2020.
“I’m glad to be back in the ring October 30 on SHOWTIME in Las Vegas,” said Ennis. “This is another step towards becoming world champion! They haven’t seen nothing yet. It’s time for me to continue to shine and be great. I can’t wait to show out and have some fun.”
The 31-year-old Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs) has amassed a solid resume at 140 and 147 pounds during his career, climbing into the ring with world champions Yordenis Ugas, Jessie Vargas and Terence Crawford. Born in Marigot, Guadeloupe but representing Carolina, Puerto Rico, Dulorme rebounded from a loss to Crawford for a 140-pound title by scoring back-to-back knockouts, followed by a narrow decision loss to Ugas. The world title challenger is coming off solid efforts in back-to-back decision losses against Jamal James and Eimantas Stanionis.
“I think in the Stanionis fight I demonstrated that I am still at the top level,” said Dulorme. “A lot of people told me I won that fight and I thought I did too. I’m excited to face Ennis because he’s a good fighter, but he hasn’t fought anyone like me. The fans can expect another great performance from me on SHOWTIME.”
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, Fla. Rivera (21-0, 14 KOs) burst onto the scene in 2019, making his U.S. debut with a victory over Juan Rene Tellez. The 23-year-old continued his ascent in 2020, adding a stoppage win against Fidel Maldonado Jr. and a unanimous decision triumph against lightweight contender LaDarius Miller. Rivera has continued his dominance with a pair of knockout victories in 2021, stopping Anthony Mercado in February before most recently delivering a highlight-reel knockout of Jon Fernandez in July on SHOWTIME.
“Romero made a big mistake taking this fight,” said Rivera. “What he’s seen from me in the gym, is not the same thing that he’s going to see on fight night. He is far from a fight night fighter. He folds under pressure or runs. He is a good fighter, but he’s not at my level. I won’t let him go the distance like Isaac Cruz did. On October 30, I’m going to give him the beating of his lifetime.”
Romero (24-1, 8 KOs) made his stateside debut in March, dropping a competitive decision to top lightweight contender Isaac Cruz on SHOWTIME. Previously, the Cordoba, Argentina native picked up a pair of victories in 2020, winning a 12-round decision over Javier Jose Clavero in November, while stopping Gabriel Gustavo Ovejero in March. A pro since 2015, the 25-year-old will look to bounce back from his first defeat and move into title contention against another elite 135-pound opponent.
“Rivera and I have the same promoter and I personally requested for Sampson Lewkowicz to let me fight him when I saw he had no opponent,” said Romero. “I am willing to step in because I know I can beat him. We have trained at the same gym, but never sparred. His style is perfect for my style. This is going to be another victory for me to add to my collection.”