Butler hoping for special night against Hall


Paul Butler’s finest night was against Stuart Hall and he hopes Saturday’s rematch with the veteran will be another turning point in his career.

The 28-year-old can secure a shot at the WBA world bantamweight title — held by Kazakhstan’s Zhanat Zhakiyanov, who is trained by Ricky Hatton — if he beats his fellow Briton at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Butler (24-1, 13 KOs), from Ellesmere Port in Merseyside, has taken a winding road since he won a split points decision over Hall in June 2014 — a win that earned Butler the IBF world bantamweight title after he had stepped up a division from super-flyweight, but he soon gave up the belt without making a defence to resume as a super-flyweight.

But Butler failed in his attempt to become a two-weight world champion when South Africa’s Zolani Tete stopped him in eight rounds for the IBF world super-flyweight title in March 2015, and he has since switched divisions once again.

Butler hopes a disciplined display in front of his home supporters will set up a chance to become a two-time world bantamweight champion.

“I don’t feel added pressure for this fight because I love boxing in Liverpool,” said Butler.

“It’s just important that you do not lose your head and I’ve known for a long time now to stick to my boxing and the gameplan.

“I know that there will be times where we will trade and I go with him, but I still know the plan and what I need to do.”

Hall insists he still has plenty of ambition left at 37, starting with revenge over Butler.

Hall (21-5-2, 7 KOs), from Darlington, lost the IBF belt to Butler in a first defence and has been unsuccessful in two world title shots since. American Randy Caballero and fellow Briton Lee Haskins unanimously out-pointed Hall for the same title later in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

“He says I haven’t done anything since we last fought but I’ve had 36 rounds with three class operators in Caballero, Rodrigo Guerrero and Haskins,” said Hall.

“I lost to two of them in close fights. I’m the one with momentum going into this fight.

“The last time he actually got punched was against Tete and we all know what happened there. He got wiped out.

“That was two years ago and he’s fought journeymen since. He can talk and say he’s improved, which he might have a bit under Joe Gallagher. But I’m going to win the fight. It’s facts on paper he’s done nothing since the first fight.”

Hall denies he has been riled by Butler teasing him on social media.

“I saw Butler made a quote saying he’s got under my skin, listen that’s rubbish,” said Hall.

“I’m in a great place. I’m more focused and mentality very stable. The last time I fought him, maybe he got in my head a little bit.”

Hall promises a better performance than when he last fought Butler in Newcastle and hopes victory earns him a rematch with Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell, who beat him six years ago and now holds the secondary version of the WBA title.

“I’ve watched the first fight back a couple of times, I’m quite embarrassed to be honest,” said Hall.

“I let him do what he wanted for the first four, five rounds. I’m going to take care of him then I’m looking at my old foe, Jamie McDonnell.”


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