By Rich Lopez
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing hosted a card at the Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, in Monaco, Monte Carlo. The card was streamed on DAZN and it featured a pair of undefeated Russian welterweights fighting for a vacant world title. In addition, the world’s best female fighter Cecilia Braekhus was in action and other undefeated fighters were featured.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
The main event was for the vacant WBA Welterweight title in a battle of undefeated Russians. Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KO’s) scored a twelve round unanimous decision over Radzhab Butaev (12-0, 9 KO’s) to win the WBA title. The shorter fighter Besputin used his quickness and his movement to have success against the taller Butaev. From rounds 1-2, Besputin displayed his speed and movement, using different angles to confuse the aggressive Butaev. The southpaw, Besputin, was also landing straight left hands to the head of Butaev and was also effective going to the body. In round three, there was good action from both fighters. Overall Besputin was making Butaev miss punches. Both fighters had good exchanges in round four, with Butaev getting the better of them. In round five, Besputin started the round good but then Butaev landed a right hook that staggered Besputin. Butaev landed a few more shots but Besputin survived the round. Besputin got back into his groove and started to show his effective footwork and speed to confuse Butaev in rounds six, seven, and eight. Butaev kept making the mistake of following Besputin around but not cutting off the ring or letting his hands go. In round nine, Butaev did have a good comeback round and finally got busy. Butaev trapped Besputin on the ropes and both guys traded punches with Butaev getting the better of exchanges. Once again Besputin regrouped and went back to work. He out boxed the taller Butaev in rounds ten and eleven. Butaev was getting tagged a lot but showed a good chin. In the final round, Butaev came out hard and went for the knockout but could not do it. All three judges scored 116-112 for Besputin.
Alexander Besputin is now the WBA world champion in the super talented welterweight division. Besputin looked good and showcased great boxing ability. Let’s see how his career progresses going forward in the welterweight division.
The co-feature was in the women’s welterweight division. Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus (35-0, 9 KO’s) of Norway, made her return to the ring. Braekhus scored a ten round unanimous decision over Victoria Noelia Bustos (19-5) of Argentina. In typical Braekhus fashion, she starting boxing well and utilizing her jab in the first round. Then she started to nail Bustos with right hands. Braekhus continued to outbox Bustos in round two. In round three, Bustos made a good attempt to get in the inside of Braekhus but Braekhus used her reach and speed to offset Bustos. In rounds four and five, Braekhus continued to clearly outbox and outwork the shorter Bustos. In round six, Braekhus landed a left hook that dropped Bustos and was clearly a knockdown. However, the ref ruled it a slip. Braekhus went back to work in the seventh round. She kept popping Bustos with left jabs and right hands. Bustos increased the pressure in round eight and even managed to land a good right hook on Braekhus. In round nine, Bustos had a little better success with her nonstop pressure but Braekhus kept her distance well. In the final round, Braekhus closed the show with good body movements and landing good counter shots. It was a good effort by Bustos but she was outclassed by the superior Braekhus. The judges scores were 98-92 (twice) and 99-91 all for Braekhus.
The long reigning champion Braekhus can simply hang up the gloves with an undefeated record. However the best female fighter in the world wants to keep fighting on. Who can beat her? I think the next challenge for her would be a fight against WBO Super Lightweight champion Katie Taylor. That’s if Taylor decides to move up in weight.
In a competitive super featherweight fight, undefeated Welshman Joe Cordina (10-0, 7 KO’s) scored a ten round unanimous decision over Mexico’s Mario Tinoco (18-5-4, 13 KO’s). From the opening round, Cordina showed his speed and boxed well. Every time Tinoco got close, Cordina would clinch in the inside. Round two was a good round for Tinoco as he was able to get inside and land body punches. In rounds three and four, Tinoco had some moments landing effective body punches but was being outworked by Cordina. In round five, Cordina had a dominating round by connecting hard right hands on Tinoco. Tinoco came back in round six as he got close landing hook shots to the body and head of Cordina. Round seven was a good round for Cordina as he went back to moving and boxing. Tinoco could not be counted out and had a good eighth round. Tinoco now started throwing jabs that were jolting the head of Cordina. Both men had good exchanges in the round. Round nine was another good round with punches exchanged from both fighters. Both fighters battled to the end in round ten to close the show. At the end, Cordina won by scores of 98-92, and 96-94 (twice). The 96-94 scorecards were right but the 98-92 scorecard was a little too wide. It was a good battle, with Cordina winning the fight by being more effective with cleaner punching.
By winning, Cordina won the vacant WBA Continental Super Featherweight Title and he looks to be a top contender to look out for.
In heavyweight action, undefeated Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang (20-0, 16 KO’s) of China, scored a ten round unanimous decision over Andriy Rudenko (32-4, 20 KO’s) of Ukraine. In rounds one and two, the taller Zhang used his distance well. Zhang was landing straight left hands on the head of Rudenko. In round three, Rudenko finally landed some good counter shots while he was against the ropes. Zhang turned this around and landed a right hand on the temple of Rudenko that stunned him. Zhang landed a few more punches that backed up Rudenko against the ropes. However, Rudenko managed to survive the round. From rounds 4-6, Zhang was slowing down but did enough to win the rounds and Rudenko could not close the gap. In round seven, Rudenko landed hard right hands that backed up a very fatigued Zhang. From rounds 8-10, both men were tired and slow, which did not generate any action. Zhang landed some left hands to the body and head of Rudenko in the closing rounds. Zhang won by scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93.
This was the first time that Zhang went past six rounds in a fight and it showed as he was completely tired in the late rounds. Also the year layoff did not help Zhang either. This was a step up in competition for Zhang and he passed it but not too impressive. Hopefully Zhang stays more active if he wants to be considered the Big Bang in the heavyweight division.
In the opening bout of the DAZN card, undefeated Thulasi Tharumalingham (6-0, 4 KO’s) of Germany, won an unpopular six round unanimous decision over Alexander Benidze (13-27-3, 6 KO’s) of Georgia. The opening round started well for Thulasi. He moved around and boxed well while Benidze came forward but could not land any punches. This all changed in the second round. Benidze caught Thulasi with a right hand that dropped him. Thulasi was caught with his hands down and he paid the price. Thulasi got up and finished the round. Benidze continued his assault in round three. He landed more right hands that dazed Thulasi. In round four, Benidze continued to outwork Thulasi and was mixing his attack to the body as well. In round five, some tape got loose on the gloves of Thulasi. Thulasi immediately took a knee to signal to the ref that his tape was loose. Benidze still had a great round and Thulasi’s defense was poor as he always kept his hands down. Thulasi tried to finish the round strong letting his hands go but it seemed a little too late. However, Thulasi got lucky and won a unanimous decision by scores of 58-55, 57-56 (twice). It was a terrible decision and Benidze was robbed of victory.