By Frank Warren
Last Saturday Paul Butler's ascension to the IBF bantamweight throne last weekend gave me a lot of satisfaction.
'The Baby Faced Assassin' from Ellesmere Port became the first world champion to be developed through the BoxNation network when he nudged out Darlington's Stuey Hall a decent champion on a split decision at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena.
Butler was a close but worthy winner and will benefit hugely from the experience. His rich talent has never been disputed. Nevertheless, during 12 rounds of the very highest grade, he exhibited several other attributes which suggest that, aged just 25, he will enjoy a long and lucrative future at world championship level.
Starting for just the 16th time as a pro, no Englishman has scaled the sport's summit in fewer fights than Butler. To put it into context, when Butler made his pro debut on my show in December 2010 in Liverpool, Kell Brook, who was one of the top of the bill fights, was the WBO mandatory contender for the World title and had just fought in an eliminator. Yet almost four years later, Butler is already the world champion and Brook still hasn't challenged for the world title. Brook will finally get his shot in August, but he has to travel and give away home advantage when he takes on WBA World champion Shawn Porter in New York.
His previously untested chin held firm against several decent shots from the naturally bigger and formidably strong champion. Likewise, Paul's fitness and stamina passed the sternest examinations in a scrap that was conducted at a quite ferocious pace.
And I was especially impressed by young Butler's ice cool temperament.
He braved hostile terrain to travel across to Hall's native north-east to make his world championship bow yet fronted up to every challenge. Despite the chaotic tempo of the battle, his tactics and concentration were exemplary throughout. His trainer Anthony 'Arnie' Farnell deserves recognition for bringing Butler to the ring in such pristine physical and mental condition.
Purists were left salivating over Butler's sheer quality. His fizzing fists, balletic feet, sizzling combinations and scorching body shots were a joy to behold, whilst his airtight defence and savvy fight brain generally kept him safe. It was an A plus performance in arguably the best quality domestic dust-up of the year thus far.
Ominously, he can still comfortably make the super-fly limit, where he reigned as British and Commonwealth champion. He would prove an even more daunting proposition at that weight and would be a strong fancy to deliver Britain its first ever world champion at 115lbs.
Butler became Britain's fourth current world champion alongside Carl Froch, Scott Quigg and McDonnell and that list could expand further tonight when Blackpool's Brian Rose makes his mandatory challenge for the WBO light-middle strap against Rhode Island's unbeaten Demetrius Andrade.
'The Lion', a cousin of Manchester City and England defender Joleon Lescott, contemplated jacking the sport during the 2009-10 campaign after opponent Jason Rushton was placed in a drug induced coma following their Area title fight.
In his next fight, the still traumatised Rose was knocked cold for the only defeat of his 27 fight career.
To his immense credit, Brian managed to regroup; avenging the loss, collecting a Lonsdale Belt outright and navigating his way to a world title shot.
I certainly wish him the very best of British but, like the bookies who list him as a 7-1 outsider, I don't hold out much hope of him returning with the bacon.
His opponent is a super slick 6ft 1in southpaw who previously reigned as world amateur champion and is being touted as a potential future opponent for Floyd Mayweather.
With just seven stoppage wins on his slate, Rose appears to lack the pop to halt proceedings early so it's disappointing that he is required to travel to New York where, inevitably, the judges will be less charitable to a visiting fighter.
He is up against it. However, completing the full 12 rounds would still represent a meritable achievement. Sky Sports televise live from 2am.
Belfast super-bantam Carl Frampton is a far more plausible candidate to secure the next world title for these shores.
Last week it was confirmed that Cyclone Promotions fronted by former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan put up the money and secured crucial home court for 'The Jackal's' mandatory challenge to IBF boss Kiko Martinez of Spain.
The BoxNation televised showdown takes place in Belfast on September 6th with the venue still to be confirmed.
Three of the four losses on Senor Martinez's 35 fight slate have come in the UK and nowhere in the world is the fight crowd more partisan than in Belfast.
Sixteen months back, Frampton mesmerized, then mullered Martinez in nine rounds of a European title clash at the city's Odyssey Arena.
However, 'La Sensacion' has since resurrected his career with four successive knockouts, including three in world title fights.
Frampton is a brilliant prospect but this is far from a formality and McGuigan has wisely invested to leave nothing to chance. The Ulster lad will again need to be picture perfect if he is to replicate his previous win over the explosive Spaniard and reach the Holy Grail.
Allow me to introduce my latest signing, the amorously named Romeo, Casanova, Valentino Romaeo.
Born in Bristol, the flashy, flamboyant 18 year old was brought up rough, living off the land in the Forest of Dean.
After bagging a barrowload of GCSEs, the gifted pianist has already blitzed to three pro wins in between learning to speak Chinese and Japanese!
He's a unique and outrageous talent who, believe me, makes Naseem Hamed look like a shrinking violet! Watch out for him when he fights next on Wednesday 16th July at York Hall.
You'd be hard pressed to find a better knockout body punch this year than Bradley Saunders' dynamite left hand to Ville Piispanen ribs on Saturday night in Newcastle, that left the Finnish fighter out for the count.
Then over in New York at Madison Square Garden, Irishman Andy Lee pulled out a sensational right hook-uppercut to pole axe John Jackson in the fifth round. It was a remarkable turnaround after Lee was dropped in the first, punished in the second and hurt in the fifth before landing the blockbuster punch.
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