Paul Butler to challenge Zolani Tete on Oct. 25
Former IBF bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler will challenge IBF junior bantamweight beltholder Zolani Tete on Oct. 25 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, according a release by promoter Frank Warren.
Tete-Butler has been requested by Warren and tentatively approved pending the arrival of the contracts, according to IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker.
Butler (16-0, 8 knockouts), 25, was last in action in June when he dethroned Stuart Hall by split decision for the IBF’s 118-pound belt.
Butler vacated the strap in July to return to the 115-pound division with the goal of becoming Britain’s first boxer to win a second belt at a lighter weight in over a century.
In victory over Tete (19-3, 16 KOs), 26, Butler would become the first British boxer since heavyweight Bob Fitzsimmons in 1903 to win a second world title in a lighter division, as well as the fastest ever English fighter to do so.
“I can’t wait to face Tete and take that world title from him. He gets my full respect for being world champion and for coming to Liverpool to defend his title against me. But when he gets in that ring, he will be in against a man who is totally focused and driven to win the world title. Winning one world title is every boxer’s dream. To win a second world title would be just unbelievable and to do it in back-to-back fights makes it more special,” said Butler via release.
“To become a two-time and two-weight world champion and to join other British champions like Duke McKenzie, David Haye, Ricky Hatton, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank in the history books is a massive motivator for me. By beating Tete, I will achieve another feat not done since Bob Fitzsimmons well over a hundred years ago and win a second world title in a lighter division, which again would be an honor. Breaking records is great but my primary focus is beating Tete and becoming world champion.”
In his last fight in July, Tete, ranked number four as a junior bantamweight by THE RING, won the vacant belt by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Teiru Kinoshita before Kinoshita’s partisan fans Japan.
Tete has won three consecutive bouts, including a first-round knockout of Eduard Penerio in March 2013 that helped him rebound from his split decision loss to Roberto Domingo Sosa in September 2012.
“He’s a southpaw and a good, tough, world champion,” said Butler, “but as I’ve shown against a bigger man like Hall, I need to use my hand speed and combinations with my fast feet and mix it with the power that I’ve got. It’s going to be a massive night in Liverpool and one to remember.”
In another bout, junior middleweight Liam Smith, 26, will face an opponent to be determined in an attempt to follow up his sixth round stoppage of Jason Welborn in July.
Also, lightweight Derry Mathews will face Cristian Rafael Coria. Mathews is coming off a split decision victory over Martin Gethin in May and Coria, his second consecutive loss by unanimous decision to Sergio Mauricio Gil last month.