Paul Butler steps back into the ring on Saturday evening as he bids to claim the vacant WBO European Super-Flyweight title.
The Chester-born fighter faces Romanian Silvio Olteanu at the Manchester Arena in what is a crucial bout as he lines up a world title shot next year, potentially against Irish rival Jamie Conlan.
Butler, who previously held the IBF World Bantamweight title, is still focused on winning a second world title in a lighter weight division even though he came up short in his attempt at IBF king Zolani Tete in March.
Since then, he’s smashed his way back with a win over Gustavo Molina in five rounds in July before destroying Hector Rolando Gusman last month with one devastating left to the body in the first round.
But former Vauxhall Motors ABC amateur Butler faces a tricky test in Manchester against the 37-year-old, who has never been stopped in a 24-fight career.
Olteanu, who fights out of Madrid, has twice held the European super-flyweight title and also lost out on a WBA World title challenge on points on 2010.
And a partisan crowd isn’t likely to faze the seasoned Olteanu, whose professional career has seen him fight in Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico and France, although Saturday represents his first bout on UK soil.
Butler, of Great Sutton, said: “This is my first title fight since the Tete fight and I’m desperate to get a belt around my waist again.
“I’ve proved that the Tete fight wouldn’t dent my confidence and I believe I’ve improved and come back stronger from it as you’ve seen in my last two fights.
“Now I’m in facing a tougher test against a good former European champion in Olteanu who will make me raise my game and maybe give me a harder test. He’s never been stopped and I’m looking to be the first.
“He can bring what he likes to the ring, I’m focused on what I’ve got to do and that’s to destroy him and get him out of the way so I can move on in my career and get that second world title.”
But Olteanu is in bullish mood and has no intentions of letting Butler get the better of him.
“I will show this little kid what is to fight with a man. He has been protected fighting in his backyard all his career,” said Olteanu.
“I have proved already that I am the best in Europe.”