Paul Butler respects Zolani Tete but says the IBF world super-flyweight champion should forget about returning to South Africa with his belt.
Ellesmere Port’s Butler has been waiting five months to dethrone Tete, who broke a bone in his hand three weeks before the pair’s planned October fight.
Butler, who defeated Stuart Hall last June to win the IBF world bantamweight crown, will be the first British boxer in over 100 years to win a second world title at a lighter weight should he beat Tete at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool on Friday night.
“I’m definitely ready and it has been a long time coming but we are in fight week now and there’s no getting out of this now for him,” said Butler, who is unbeaten in 17 fights as a professional.
“Tete’s travelled well and he’s beat some good kids and been in decent company but I believe everyone he’s been in with I would beat with ease.
“He’s been down a few times and he’s been stopped at the weight below whereas I’ve won a world title at the weight above so I know I can hold my own.
“It’s going to be like chopping a tree down with an axe. You can’t do it in one go, you’ve got chip away and chip away and in the end the tree will come down.”
Tete, 26, who beat Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita last summer to win the title, has won 19 of 22 contests, with 16 opponents failing to last the scheduled distance.
Butler insists he’s respectful of that record but reckons the fight represents a step up in class for the Eastern Cape native, and has his suspicions a partisan crowd on Merseyside could unsettle the champion.
“I think he’ll try and make me fall short and then make me pay, that’s what he’s done with some of his opponents. His height and his long reach is what has got him a lot of his knockouts,” said the 26-year-old challenger.
“I know it’s going to be difficult for two, three or four rounds getting close to him but it’s about keeping focused and sticking to the game-plan, even if he wins the first few rounds.
“I know he’s travelled around the world but I don’t think he’ll ever have experienced something like Liverpool on Friday night. It’s going to be a very hostile atmosphere.
“There’s going be 7,000 or 8,000 all cheering for me and I’ll be in the ring first. He’ll be walking to the ring thinking ‘what have I got myself into here’ and when he gets in the ring he’ll find out.”