Butler vs Rodriguez set for vacant IBF title

Paul Butler

Paul Butler will get the chance to become a two-time IBF Bantamweight World Champion when squares off against the undefeated Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez, at the O2 in London on May 5th.

Butler claimed his first world title when he won a unanimous decision over Stuart Hall in April 2014. Butler later vacated the Bantamweight strap, when he moved down to Super-Flyweight to face IBF Champion, Zolani Tete.

The Ellesmere Port native returned to Bantamweight last September, claiming a comfortable victory in his rematch with Stuart Hall, and is now ranked number four by the IBF.

Rodriguez, who remains undefeated in the professional ranks, will compete in his first pro bout outside the America’s when he faces Butler and the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ hopes to ruin the party for the travelling contingent.

“I’m very excited for this,” said Butler. “It’s the reason we came over to Eddie in the first place; I knew he would deliver the big fights for me. We’re just four weeks away. It’s a big test, but I’m confident.

“It’s an honour to contest the IBF title again. I want to win it back then hopefully defend which I didn’t have the chance to do last time.

“It sounded a good idea at the time to vacate but looking back now I should have kept hold of the belt. I should have worked on my strength and conditioning, filled out and defended my title. I’ve definitely got some unfinished business with this – it would be brilliant to go out there and win it again.

“It’s a tougher test the last time I won the title, but I’m up for the challenge. I’ve improved myself. He’s touted to be this next big superstar, but how many of them come over here and get turned on their heads?

“I never used to look at my opponents, but since I’ve linked up with Joe, he’s always sending me little clips. He looks a good kid, he likes to work at midrange, but in truth, I don’t want to say too much about what he does and doesn’t do well.

“I don’t care how big and tough he is – we both have two arms, two legs, he’s from Puerto Rico, and I’m from Ellesmere Port so let’s get it on. I can see this being a very good fight, we both like to go body to head, head to body but I’ll come out being the two-time IBF World Bantamweight champion.”

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