Paul Butler outboxes Jonas Sultan, wins interim WBO bantamweight title
Paul Butler outboxed late replacement Jonas Sultan on Friday to win the interim WBO bantamweight title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
The scores were 116-112, 118-110 and 117-111, all for the local favorite Butler (34-2, 15 knockouts), who is likely to be elevated to full championship status after John Riel Casimero was once again unable to make a defense against the mandatory challenger.
Casimero and Butler had been scheduled to fight last December in Dubai, but Casimero withdrew prior to the weigh-in, citing viral gastritis amid rumors that he had been struggling to make the 118-pound limit. The fight was rescheduled for April, with the World Boxing Organization declaring that Casimero would be stripped of the title if he was unable to face Butler for any reason.
That reason became Casimero’s apparent violation of the British Boxing Board of Control’s regulation banning the use of saunas on fight week to make weight. Casimero had published a video of himself in the sauna cutting weight, which caused the BBBofC to deny Casimero permission to fight Butler.
Sultan, who like Casimero is from the Philippines, had been in the United Kingdom on standby as a replacement opponent, and stepped in on three days notice to replace Casimero.
Sultan (18-6, 11 KOs) appeared formidable in the early rounds, exerting raw pressure on the more refined Butler, but Butler was able to maintain his composure and box his way out of danger in the late rounds to hold on to the win.
Butler, who won the IBF bantamweight title in 2014 before vacating it a month later for an ill-fated move to 115 pounds, has now won eight straight since his last defeat, a unanimous decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018.
The loss snaps a three-fight winning streak for Sultan, who was coming off an impressive decision win over the previously unbeaten Carlos Caraballo last October.
The show was promoted by Probellum and streamed live on their website.
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