When Paul Butler held aloft his IBF world bantamweight title belt on Saturday night, it was a moment that his father never doubted that he would see.
Ellesmere Port native Butler, 25, claimed a famous points victory over Stuart Hall at Newcastle’s Metro Arena to see him crowned world champion.
Butler’s father, Paul Butler Snr, says that he never doubted that his son would become Ellesmere Port’s first-ever boxing world champion.
“It was a case of relief more than elation on Saturday night,” said Butler Snr.
“Paul executed everything perfectly. We wanted to start well and boss the first six rounds, which he did, and he was a thoroughly deserving winner.
“I never doubted that Paul would become world champion, ever since he first started, and I was one proud dad on Saturday night. He did me, his camp, his fans and everyone back home proud.”
Former British and Commonwealth super-flyweight champion Butler, who cut his teeth at Vauxhall ABC gym in Ellesmere Port, claimed victory on a split decision after he and 34-year-old Hall battled it out in 12 thrilling rounds of boxing.
In only his second fight at 118lbs, the Chester-born fighter demonstrated his impressive speed and footwork and was given the verdict after two of the three judges scored the fight in his favour, extending his unbeaten professional career to 16-0.
Butler, who was tipped for a world title by his promoter Frank Warren last year, was roared on by a vocal travelling support of almost 500 who had made the journey up via coach to watch the fight.
Butler Snr added: “The support was amazing. They made so much noise and they drowned out the support that he (Hall) had. Even the neutrals were cheering for Paul.”
In Butler’s corner on Saturday night was his amateur trainer Peter Phelan, who had been in the corner of former Vauxhall ABC fighter Paul ‘Livewire’ Lloyd when he was defeated by American Tim Austin for the same title back in 1998.
“Paul is the first world champion to come from Ellesmere Port and the first fromVauxhall ABC,” added Butler Snr.
“It was a special moment for Peter, who has spent 30 years doing this, as he was in the corner when Paul Lloyd lost to Tim Austin all those years back. It’s quite mad really.
“For him to finally see a world champion come from the gym is just amazing.”
Butler Snr said that he would be attempting to contact former WBC world featherweight champion Juan Laporte, who had predicted Butler’s success when he saw him box in a New York gym 14 years ago.
Butler Snr added: “I’m going to try and let him know as I’m sure he will be delighted to hear that his prophecy has finally come true.”