Business school grad Daiyaan Butt handles biz in the ring, too
You had to look hard to see it, but the evidence was right on his face. Daiyaan Butt had a small bruise underneath his left eye from a head butt he had sustained just three days earlier in his third-round knockout win over Abraham Afful on May 6 of this year. Later that week, he walked the stage to receive his degree from the Fox School of Business at Temple University in his hometown of Philadelphia.
For the 26-year-old junior welterweight boxer, finding that balance between his passion and his education has long been a part of his unique life story.
“I don’t know what I was more excited about, graduating or the fight. But it was actually a really cool moment,” said Butt (15-2, 7 knockouts), who majored in Management Information Systems.
His agenda this week is far less complicated, though the task no less dangerous. He will face tough journeyman Jordan Rosario (5-10, 1 KO) in a six-round bout this Saturday at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, N.J. The card will be promoted by Thomas LaManna’s Rising Star Promotions and will be the 50th show the promotion has put on.
The 33-year-old Rosario of Jersey City, N.J. has a deceiving record, but showed he can pull off an upset in wins over Nicky Vitone in 2021 and 2023.
“To be honest I don’t pay attention to my opponent, I just watch a good minute of their fight and leave the rest to my coach and my team,” said Butt, who is promoted by Nedal’s Promotions.
His other classroom has been the boxing gym, where he now trains with Raul “Chino” Rivas and Nick Rosario out of TKO Fitness in Cherry Hill, N.J. There, he furthers his ring education by sparring with fighters like former IBF junior lightweight titleholder Tevin Farmer, former unified junior middleweight champ Julian Williams, plus Vito Mielnicki Jr.
Growing up in West Philadelphia, his Pakistani-American parents did their best to keep him out of trouble. A self-described “computer nerd” growing up, young Daiyaan (pronounce Day-yawn) would often get teased for his surname, which would lead to fist fights.
Instead of moving with his auntie and uncle in Belair, Butt enrolled in a boxing gym at age 16. In just his fifth fight, he boxed against current lightweight champion Devin Haney at the 2015 USA Boxing Junior National Championships. Though he lost a decision, competing against the vastly more experienced Haney convinced Butt to take the sport more seriously.
“It just opened up my eyes because he was supposed to be the number one amateur in the world and I put up a good fight,” said Butt.
Butt turned pro in 2018 after a 25-bout amateur career, which included earning bronze at the 2016 USA Boxing Nationals. He has two losses but has won his last five bouts.
Butt’s schedule isn’t getting any less busy in the new year. He will begin a new job as a cyber security analyst at the multinational accounting firm Ernst & Young and has big plans for his boxing career as well.
“I believe I’m ready for a step-up fight, we offer a lot of fighters fights and get turned down a lot. I’m ready to go, obviously my next fight is my main focus, but we do have something cooking for early next year,” said Butt.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].