PAUL Butler is just one win away from being crowned a British champion after he maintained his perfect professional record with an explosive victory in London.
The Great Sutton sensation has been granted a shot at the British super-flyweight strap as reward for his points win over arch enemy Ashley Sexton in Bethnal Green last Thursday.
The lead up to the York Hall showdown between the unbeaten contenders was marred by controversy after Sexton failed to make the 8st 3lb weight limit.
The London-born fighter’s inability to shed the pounds ensured the hotly anticipated encounter in Sexton’s backyard was stripped of its British title eliminator status.
But Butler, 23, will still get his shot after he defied the weight disadvantage to be declared a 98-92 points winner at the end of a wild and often spiteful East End brawl.
It was the former ABA champion’s eighth straight success since turning pro and signing for Frank Warren.
So impressed was Warren with Butler in his maiden 10-round clash that he immediately set the wheels in motion for him to fight for the British crown vacated by Lee Haskins.
Butler will take on John Donnelly in September to decide who is the best in Britain.
The more experienced Donnelly, 27, is likely to be the bookies’ favourite after he beat fellow Liverpudlian Mike Robinson in his last outing to win the English super-flyweight belt.
But former Vauxhall Motors ABC star Butler has every reason to be confident after dominating the sparring sessions he has had with Donnelly in the past.
Butler said: “I was going to fight Ashley Sexton again but he doesn’t deserve a shot after the mind games he tried to play with me.
“If he would have been professional and came in at the right weight then maybe – but not now.
“He was definitely playing mind games and doing his best to get under my skin. He thought he was going to be bigger and stronger than me.
“He’s done 12 and 10 rounds before but it was my first at 10 so people were asking whether I could tick the boxes and answer the questions – and I did that.”
Butler was left fuming by Sexton’s antics before the bout.
But roared on by an army of supporters from Ellesmere Port, he kept his focus admirably to inflict a first defeat on ‘Flash Ash’.
The ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ even came close to knocking Sexton out when he dropped him in the final round with a vicious left hook.