AN army of followers from Ellesmere Port will descend on the Echo Arena on Saturday as Paul Butler makes his eagerly-awaited professional debut.
Butler, 21, will take on Anwar Al Fida, from Brendan Ingle’s Wincobank gym in Sheffield in four three-minute rounds at Liverpool’s imposing waterside venue.
The Great Sutton flyweight will be roared on my hundreds of family members, friends and supporters from Vauxhall Motors ABC, the club which set him on the road to stardom.
Butler is on the undercard of a multi-title show celebrating promoter Frank Warren’s 30 years in boxing.
The young fighter’s dad, Paul Butler Senior, said: “We have sold around 300 tickets and Paul is looking forward to it. Frank Warren is looking forward to seeing him too.
“He’s heard great reports, has been in regular contact and wants to fast-track him.”
Butler, who penned a pro contract with Warren earlier this year, will compete alongside the cream of British boxing talent, including Olympic gold medallist James DeGale, British super-middleweight Paul Smith, Welsh hotshot Nathan Cleverly and Sheffield sensation Kell Brook.
Vauxhall ABC chairman Peter Phelan, who will be part of the Ellesmere Port invasion in Liverpool, is confident the fight will be the first step on the road to success for one of the club’s most highly-rated prospects.
“Paul’s a very popular figure and although he doesn’t wear our vest anymore now he’s gone professional, he’s still very much part of our club,” said Phelan.
“He’s a smashing young man, who comes to support our lads and we’ll all be there to support him.”
Phelan reckons the Great Sutton fighter, who lives in Shaw Close, has been destined for boxing stardom from an early age.
“In 2000 we took him to America and I remember everyone out there saying that one day he’d be a champion,” he said.
“He’s a very determined young man who trains hard, eats the right things and stays in when all his mates are going out which is difficult at his age.
“He’s an inspiration to everyone at our club.”
Butler began boxing at the Vauxhall gym in Little Sutton when he was 10.
In the last 11 years, he has emerged as one of the best young amateurs in the country, clocking up more than 90 bouts.
He has fought for England 27 times and won a coveted ABA title in May when he beat Adam Whitfield in Bethnal Green to claim the 51kg crown.
Tickets for Saturday’s event are available now from Vauxhall Motors ABC or from Frank Warren Promotions Box Office on 01992 550 888.