ELLESMERE Port boxing sensation Paul Butler is being primed for a national title shot by Frank Warren after making a memorable start to his professional career.
The rookie super-flyweight overcame journeyman Anwar Alfadli at a jam-packed Echo Arena on Saturday to leave the legendary promoter purring.
Warren, who organised the blockbuster Liverpool show to celebrate 30 years in boxing, congratulated Butler on his victory and then told him he expects him to be fighting for the British belt within a year.
Those words rounded off a night to remember for the 22-year-old from Great Sutton.
Butler, who penned a pro contract with Warren earlier this year, said: “It was an amazing atmosphere and an unbelievable experience to fight in front of that many people.
“I had about 250 to 300 supporters there and they really made themselves heard.
“It was a great way to start my professional career.”
Butler, fighting on the undercard of the multi-title show, had to work hard to overcome Sheffield spoiler Alfadli, for whom it was his 14th pro fight.
But after a clash of heads in the first round, the decorated former amateur showed his class to be awarded a convincing 39-37 points victory at the end of four, three-minute rounds.
Ex-Vauxhall Motors ABC star Butler, who signed off his amateur career earlier by winning the ABA 51kg crown in May, said: “It was a bit more awkward than I thought it would be.
“He’s the type of boxer most new professionals would face six or seven fights in, but they want to fast-track me. I got the job done.”
Butler celebrated his debut pro success with his army of supporters sat high in the stands of the Echo Arena. He then returned to ringside to watch Olympic champion – and occasional training-camp partner – James DeGale snatch the super-middleweight British title away from hometown hero Paul Smith.
Among the 10,500 crowd was Butler’s dad, Paul Snr.
He said: “Paul’s worked so hard these last 12 years he’s been boxing. I’ve seen him in the gym with sweat dripping off him and medicine balls bouncing off his chest, but’s it’s all been worth it.
“I had every confidence he would win the fight. It was just a case of how he would cope with the size of the crowd as, before Saturday, the most he would have boxed in front of was about 1,000. He did us all proud.”
Butler is expected to return to the ring early next year on the bill of another Warren show.