MATCHROOM staged its annual show at the Casino in Monte Carlo (Salle Medecin), topped by an all-Russian contest for the vacant WBA welterweight title. This is the body’s regular, secondary belt at 147lbs, with Manny Pacquiao holding its “Super” title following his July victory over Keith Thurman. At least Alexander Besputin and Radzhab Butaev put on a good fight, won unanimously by the former on three scores of 116-112 for judges Stan Christodoulou (South Africa), Pawel Kardyni (Poland) and Jean-Robert Laine (France).
It was an intriguing contrast in styles. Besputin, based in Oxnard, California and signed with Top Rank, is a stocky (5ft 7ins) southpaw with fast hands and good movement. Brooklyn-based Butaev, taller by 3 1/2ins, boasts a powerful dig but is rather one-dimensional.
The 12-rounder went in phases. Besputin boxed smartly to take the opening two sessions, moving in to score and getting out before Butaev could respond.