Jonas Sultan steps in to replace Casimero, will fight Paul Butler for interim bantamweight title
Jonas Sultan was at the right place at the right time.
The Filipino road warrior had been in the United Kingdom for a week as a potential replacement opponent should anything happen to either fighter in the John Riel Casimero vs. Paul Butler fight, scheduled for this Friday.
Something did happen, when the WBO bantamweight titleholder Casimero was denied permission to fight by the British Boxing Board of Control after violating their medical procedures for using a sauna to cut weight.
Now the 31-year-old from Zamboanga del Norte in the Philippines will get an unexpected big fight opportunity after the World Boxing Organization approved Sultan to step in to face Butler at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
“This is a big moment for me and I am hungry for it. There is a lot of hard work that has gone into my preparation and it was meant to be that I get in the ring against Butler this week,” said Sultan (18-5, 11 knockouts).
Sultan is the no. 4 rated bantamweight by the WBO, and is coming off an impressive win over the previously unbeaten Carlos Caraballo in October.
Sultan, who is handled by the Sean Gibbons-run Viva Promotions, holds a decision win over fellow Filipino Casimero in 2017. He lost his lone title opportunity in 2018, dropping a unanimous decision to Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF junior bantamweight title.
“[Sultan] looks at this as his Super Bowl of boxing and he’s not gonna let this slip away. He’s gonna beat Paul Butler on April 22 and then he wants to unify with Naoya Inoue,” said Gibbons, who had previously worked with Casimero.
The WBO gave Casimero 48 hours to “show cause” after failing once again to defend his belt against the mandatory challenger Butler (33-2, 15 KOs). The two had previously been scheduled to fight last December in Dubai, but Casimero withdrew from the fight prior to the weigh-in, citing viral gastritis.
The WBO issued a statement after the December incident, saying that Casimero would be stripped of the title if he was unable to compete for any reason in the rescheduled Butler fight.
Butler, 33, is a former IBF junior bantamweight titleholder and has won seven straight since a 2018 decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez.