Tuesday, February 07, 2023  |



Zolani Tete to face Paul Butler on March 6


Undefeated former bantamweight beltholder Paul Butler will challenge RING No. 4-rated IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Zolani Tete on March 6 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, promoter Frank Warren announced on Tuesday.

A 26-year-old southpaw from South Africa, Tete (19-3, 16 knockouts) was originally scheduled to face Butler (17-0, 8 KOs) on Oct. 25 before suffering a broken left hand that forced him out of his defense.

In place of Tete, Butler unanimously decisioned Mexico’s Ismael Garnica on Oct. 25. Butler had previously been in action in June, when he dethroned Stuart Hall by split decision for the IBF’s 118-pound belt.

Butler is a voluntary defense for Tete, whose bout has been tentatively approved by the IBF, according to Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker.

Butler, who turned 26 last month, 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, 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 believe that Paul is a super talent and I’m especially pleased to deliver him a second and history-making world title opportunity against Tete, which should have happened in October,” said Warren. “He gets the chance now and I’m sure he’ll grab the opportunity with both hands. It’s a great start to the year.”

In his last fight in July, Tete won the vacant belt by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Teiru Kinoshita before Kinoshita’s partisan fans in Japan.