But­ler growth may be key against Hall, writes Daniel Her­bert

Boxing News - - Contents -

But­ler-hall II, Field­ing-bro­phy, Briedis-perez and Me­d­ina-ward

REMATCHES in box­ing usu­ally hap­pen pretty quickly, and pro­duce a dif­fer­ent re­sult gen­er­ally if one fighter came into the first bout in­jured or un­der­pre­pared in some way. When a re­turn hap­pens over three years after the first, pre­dict­ing the re­sult can be tricky be­cause so much will have changed.

How­ever, that’s the sit­u­a­tion this Satur­day (September 30) when Paul But­ler from Ellesmere Port fights old foe Stu­art Hall in an elim­i­na­tor for WBA ban­tamweight ti­tle on a Match­room show at the Echo Arena, Liver­pool. (Sky Sports tele­vise).

It was nearly 40 months ago when But­ler out­pointed Hall on a split de­ci­sion to take Hall’s IBF 118lbs ti­tle in New­cas­tle. But­ler started fast and sur­vived a Hall rally to win on scores of 117-111, 115-113, 113-115.

What’s changed? Well, each has a new trainer, with But­ler moving from An­thony Far­nell to Joe Gal­lagher and Hall join­ing Max Mc­cracken in Birm­ing­ham.

Paul also switched pro­mot­ers from Frank War­ren to Match­room and now feels much stronger at the weight, given the first Hall fight was only his sec­ond at 118lbs after moving up from su­per-fly.

“It was man ver­sus boy last time and I pinched the ti­tle off him,” said But­ler. “Now it’s man ver­sus man – I’m a ful­lyfledged ban­tamweight now.”

In­deed, a few months after de­thron­ing hall, he moved back down to 115lbs and was stopped in eight rounds by South Africa’s Zolani Tete - which re­mains his only de­feat.

He’s won all seven since then and is feel­ing con­fi­dent: “I don’t be­lieve Stu­art has gone any­where since the first fight and I’m learn­ing ev­ery day un­der Joe. I’ve come on leaps and bounds.

“There’s light at the tun­nel, it’s down to me now. Hall is in the way but I be­lieve I’ll deal with him and then we’ll move on­ward and up­wards.”

Satur­day’s win­ner will be in line

to chal­lenge WBA sec­ondary ti­tlist Jamie Mcdon­nell - who must first ac­com­mo­date Liberio So­lis - and for his part Hall is con­fi­dent de­spite his ad­vanced age (for a lit­tle man) of 37.

“My camp has gone bril­liantly, I couldn’t ask for bet­ter prepa­ra­tion,” he said. “I’m train­ing with the Yafai broth­ers, Kal and Ga­mal, who are world-class fight­ers.

“Peo­ple go on about my age but I’m spar­ring peo­ple 10 years younger than me and giv­ing them hell. They are all prais­ing me, say­ing how I’m fir­ing.

“The last time I fought Paul, maybe he got in my head a lit­tle bit. I let him do what he wanted for the first four or five rounds. First and fore­most I’m go­ing to de­mol­ish But­ler, then I can look to leave this sport on a high against Mcdon­nell.”

Hall has won five of seven since the first But­ler fight, drop­ping ver­dicts to Randy Ca­ballero and Lee Hask­ins in ti­tle bouts. At his age, and at a lofty 5ft 8ins (2ins more than But­ler), he must strug­gle to make ban­tam but since he started to take box­ing se­ri­ously after early-ca­reer par­ty­ing he’s al­ways proved fit and de­ter­mined in a ring.

As be­fore, that may not be enough. But­ler is a good mover who punches in fast com­bi­na­tions and has a sound de­fence too. The pick is for But­ler to sur­vive mo­ments of pres­sure to win a hard-fought de­ci­sion.

An­other in­trigu­ing 12-rounder on a crack­ing show brings to­gether lo­cal Rocky Field­ing and Scot David Bro­phy with the for­mer’s Bri­tish and the lat­ter’s Com­mon­wealth su­per­mid­dleweight belts on the line.

Field­ing, 30, is 24-1 (13) with his sole set­back a one-round de­mo­li­tion by crosstown rival Cal­lum Smith. He held the Com­mon­wealth 168lbs belt sev­eral years ago, los­ing it in when he came in over­weight against Charles Adamu (he won on points), and earned the Bri­tish crown with a split de­ci­sion over John Ryder in April.

Bro­phy, from Calder­cruix, is 27 and boasts a 19-1-1 (3) record. Last year a big step up brought four-round KO de­feat by Ge­orge Groves, but in March the Scot trav­elled to Aus­tralia to wrest the Com­mon­wealth belt with a sev­en­thround stop­page of un­beaten Zac Dunn.

That’s out­stand­ing form, but on home turf the Jamie Moore-trained Field­ing can edge a close win on points.

There’s a good lo­cal derby in the shape of Birken­head’s Sean Dodd de­fend­ing his Com­mon­wealth light­weight ti­tle against Liver­pool’s Tom Stalker. South­paw Stalker is 3ins taller at 5ft 10ins but Dodd drags op­po­nents into a brawl and out­works them. Sean can take a thriller on points.

Two months after fold­ing in seven rounds against Josh Tay­lor, Hack­ney puncher Ohara Davies gets a chance to re­deem his rep­u­ta­tion when he meets un­beaten lo­cal Tom Far­rell over 10 at su­per-light­weight.

THE VER­DICT Four ti­tle bouts that could all go ei­ther way make this a well-matched show.


PLAY IT AGAIN, FELLAS: Hall [right] in­sists he’ll be the bet­ter fighter this time


THE OPENER: A qual­ity scrap is edged by But­ler [right] in 2014

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