After snaring British, Commonwealth and WBA/WBO Intercontinental belts plus world rankings with all four major sanctioning bodies at super flyweight, Paul Butler storms the 118lb bantamweight division this weekend. It’s a gamble that he believes will culminate in a world title shot. The 25-year-old ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ Butler (14-0, 7 KOs) squares off against little known Argentine Oreste Bernebe Nieva (15-2-2, 6 KOs) at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday night,in what could prove a dry run to a huge domestic showdown with Darlington’s IBF bantam boss Stuey Hall later in the year.
“At the very lightest weights it’s far harder for British fighters to get to world level,” said Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, who has managed and promoted Butler throughout his entire pro career. “In some divisions, you can be the best in Europe yet not in the top 30 in the world. They’ve got to be extra, extra special because all the competition is over in Latin America and south-east Asia. The fighters from those regions come from seriously hungry backgrounds where there’s no welfare state and they have to win just to eat and survive.
“One hindrance is that the (super-fly) division that Butler’s been operating in, doesn’t have a great tradition and isn’t the most marketable. That’s partly why he’s moving up to bantamweight. We’re keeping all other options open but it’s no secret that I’d love to match him with Stuart Hall for the IBF World Bantamweight title sometime this summer and I hope that Dennis Hobson (Hall’s promoter) is receptive to that. I think Hall against Butler is a fight the fans would really love and I believe we could get it across to the general sporting public, not just boxing diehards.”