Paul Butler has revealed that he will have to travel if he is to add to his world title collection.
The WBO bantamweight champion has been out of action since picking up the sanctioning body’s interim title back in April.
Butler, who was originally meant to face Filipino Johnriel Casimero for the full title at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, ended up taking on Casimero’s fellow with Jonas Sultan after the man who was stripped of the belt in the aftermath –– allowing Butler to be elevated –– was withdrawn due to concerns for his safety.
And after a masterful display, ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’, 33, got the nod on the scorecards, with the three ringside judges on Merseyside handing in tallies of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110.
Butler (34-2, 15 KOs) will get the chance to become the undisputed champion in the 118-pound division later this year after it was confirmed that he has agreed to a showdown against Naoya Inoue.
Inoue, a Japanese superstar, has a record of 23-0 with 20 KOs and is already a three-weight world champion. He currently holds the other real estate in the bantamweight division –– the WBA Super, WBC and IBF titles –– and is a previous custodian of the WBC world title at light-flyweight and the WBO crown at super-flyweight.
But Butler doesn’t feel any trepidation as he prepares to go in against the undefeated 29-year-old ‘Monster’ on December 13 at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
He exclusively told Boxing Social on Thursday:
“I’ve worked hard to get where I am since I was a 10-year-old boy and now I’m challenging the pound-for-pound number one for all the marbles.”
Butler, who was subject to some dismay online after Inoue’s second-round stoppage win over Nonito Donaire back in June, has reeled off eight consecutive wins since a 2018 decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez, at the O2 Arena in London when challenging for the aforementioned IBF title at bantamweight, while his other defeat came for the same belt down at super-flyweight back in March 2015 when he was knocked out inside eight rounds by Zolani Tete, who made a return to the ring in July following the death of his mother.
“All that sh*t online doesn’t bother me at all, that’s why they [the trolls] are behind their phones, sat at work in a 9am-5pm job.
“Why would I be arsed? I’ll do my job, you do yours.
“Everyone is writing me off but I’ve done everything. I’ve been a British champion, a Commonwealth champion and a world champion. I’m still a world champion and I plan on adding more belts when I beat Inoue, but I know the size of the task I’ve got in front of me.”
Inoue has designs on claiming the WBO belt from Butler before once again moving up in weight, stating he would “like to move up to the super bantamweight division” if he “can unify the four bantamweight titles this year.”
The winner of the matchup will be the first undisputed champion at 118 pounds in nearly 50 years.
“At the end of the day, I’ll go in there, I’ll give it everything I’ve got and if it’s not enough, I can sail off into the sunset happy that I achieved everything that there was to achieve in a sport that I’ve dedicated my life to.
“I’ll sail off into the sunset and I’ll f**king deserve it.”