Paul Butler believes victory this weekend will return him to where he belongs: the world title scene.
Butler meets Petchbarngborn Kokietgym at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday night in an eliminator for the WBO World super-flyweight belt.
The winner will be in prime position to challenge WBO king Naoya Inoue or contest the vacant belt should the champion vacate the title as has been rumoured.
Butler, the former IBF World bantamweight champion, retains a burning ambition to become the first Briton in over a century to drop down a weight and win a second world title.
His last attempt ended in Zolani Tete knocking him out in eight rounds but the 27-year-old from Great Sutton has regrouped with four straight stoppage victories and is bristling with confidence as he makes his first defence of the WBO International title he won when he stopped Sebastian Sanchez in March.
“We’re back to where I believe I belong which is, hopefully after this fight, challenging for world titles”, Butler told iFL TV.
“Inoue holds the belt at the moment and he won his last fight but apparently he’s got bad hands and he’s going to be out for a long time so that could become vacant and if it does then maybe I’ll be boxing for a world title straight after this one.
“It’s been a long hard road. I’ve had four fights since Tete and stopped all four, won the WBO European and the WBO International title.
“My last performance wasn’t too good, I wasn’t too pleased but you have to get in there, get on with the job and get the job done and we ended up getting him out of there nine rounds.
LOOK: Paul Butler's boxing career in pictures
“It means a lot to be back at world level, it’s what I’ve worked hard for since the Tete defeat which was just over a year ago now so I’m back to where I belong, I’ve got that bit between my teeth again now and I want to be challenging for a world title again.”
Butler, who changed stables in March when leaving long-time trainer Anthony ‘Arnie’ Farnell for Oliver Harrison , expects a tough night’s work against Thailand’s Kokietgym.
The Bangkok-based 30-year-old, who holds the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental title, has won 38 from 46 fights and his last defeat was in September 2013
Butler said: “He’s boxed at a good level before, he’s ranked number six in the world with the WBO so I’m in for a tough fight but with what we’ve been watching of him I fancy my chances.”