Paul Butler showed technical and smart boxing to score a unanimous decision over Jonas Sultan and claim the World Boxing Organization (WBO) interim bantamweight title at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England Friday (early Saturday morning in Manila).
Sultan, who served as a late replacement for embattled WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero, fell short as Butler dominated the scorecards and had it at 116-112, 118-110, and 117-111.
Butler came in strong early in the opening rounds and sustained momentum midway through the match, keeping Sultan at bay with his defensive tactics and counterpunching with short jabs.
Sultan, of Manny Pacquiao (MP) Promotions, retaliated in the sixth and eighth rounds with his scrappy approach, unloading a couple of combinations and power punches.
But Butler, consistent with his wise method, stood still and traded punches with the Filipino in the next few frames.
With both boxers stepping on the gas in the last round, it all boiled down to their precise punching as the match went into the hands of the judges.
“It’s unbelievable, what a feeling! I have waited a long time to be a two-time world champion,” said the 33-year-old Butler, who formerly held the International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantam belt in 2014.
“It’s been a long journey and we only had 48 hours to come up with a game plan for Sultan but that’s what I can do. I nullified the bull tonight,” the English pugilist added.
While enjoying his status as interim champion, Butler improved his record to 34 wins and two losses on top of 15 knockouts.
The 28-year-old Sultan, who sustained a swollen right eye, had an 18-6 record with 11 knockouts.
This was the second time that Sultan, who hails from Zamboanga del Norte, had missed his shot at the world title after absorbing a unanimous decision loss to compatriot and former IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas in May 2018.
Interestingly, prior to his bout with Ancajas, Sultan had prevailed over Casimero in September 2017 with another unanimous decision victory.
Meanwhile, the WBO has yet to make another statement regarding the status of Casimero, who was prohibited from competing against Butler for his supposed first mandatory title defense.
WBO earlier issued a “Show Cause” order to Ormoc City native boxer but a final decision on whether his bantam belt should be stripped of him or not has yet to be concluded.
Casimero, for the second time, was out of the title bout after allegedly using a sauna which was part of the prohibited weight cut and medical guidelines by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC).
He suffered from viral gastritis last December which prompted both match promoter Probellum and the WBO to postpone the match to April ###