Former bantamweight titlist Paul Butler training with Joe Gallagher
Former IBF bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler (21-1, 12 knockouts) is the latest acquisition for acclaimed British coach Joe Gallagher.
Butler, a former British and Commonwealth champion at junior bantamweight, stepped up to 118 pounds and dethroned countryman Stuart Hall in June 2014.
In his first title defense, he was defeated by power-punching South African Zolani Tete, who stopped him in eight one-sided rounds.
The 27-year-old has been on the rebuild since that time, scoring four consecutive stoppages and Gallagher is extremely enthusiastic about his future.
“I got a call asking if I would be interested in training Paul,” said THE RING Trainer of the Year for 2015. “Without committing to anything, I asked him to come to the gym for a couple of weeks to see if he could adapt and adjust to the new environment.
“That’s the two weeks up today and Paul is very happy. He’s settled in really well; he’s a good trainer, he gets on with the rest of the lads and I’m pleased to be involved in helping him regain a world title.”
Butler has flirted between 115 and 118 pounds in recent years but reading between the lines, it looks like his future will be at bantamweight.
“It’s a work-in-progress,” Gallagher said. “I’m aware that Paul was at junior bantamweight for a very long time, so we’ll train to make bantamweight and see what happens. If I feel he can make 115 then we’ll do it but I won’t put a fighter’s health at risk.
“It’s okay making weight but the important thing is performing at that weight and Paul will probably be better at the higher weight class.”
The bantamweight division is loaded with potential domestic dustups and there are several avenues which Butler could pursue.
Gallagher said, “You have the winner of (IBF titleholder) Lee Haskins and Stuart Hall, you have (THE RING No. 3) Jamie McDonnell, you have Zhanat Zhakiyanov (promoted and trained by Ricky Hatton) and you have the European champion Karim Guerfi.
“There are plenty of options in the bantamweight division. Paul has been thrown in at the deep end, training alongside Liam Smith, who is preparing for his (WBO junior middleweight title) defense against Canelo Alvarez and he’s enjoying himself.”
The bulk of Butler’s success came under another celebrated Manchester coach, Anthony Farnell, and he also spent a short time with Oliver Harrison.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Gray_Boxing