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Frank Warren on Hall vs. Butler, Quigg, Mickey May

By Frank Warren

An already brilliant summer for British boxing got even better this week when I was finally able to confirm that unbeaten British and Commonwealth super-flyweight champion Paul Butler will step up to challenge Darlington's IBF World Bantamweight Champion Stuey Hall.

The civil war will be fought at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on June 7th in the week preceding the FIFA World Cup, and the weekend following the WBA/IBF super-middleweight shootout between Carl Froch and George Groves at Wembley Stadium.

Seven weeks later, heavyweight juggernauts Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora collide at Manchester's Phones 4u Arena to conclude the fistic fiesta. Make sure the other half consults with you regarding dates, before booking the summer holiday!

The Hall-Butler match-up, which has been agreed by both promotional parties and is pending final approval from the IBF, is littered with intrigue in which a strong case can be made for either side emerging triumphant.

It's a calculated gamble on both Paul and my part, very similar to when a 21 year old Naseem Hamed braved a frighteningly hostile Welsh crowd to destroy the bigger, more seasoned local champion Steve Robinson and capture the WBO featherweight strap at a drizzly Cardiff Arms Park in September 1995.

Champion Hall, the naturally bigger, physically more mature man will be defending on home turf in his native north-east. He is brutally strong and hardy and must be starting to feel invincible after winning and successfully retaining the world title over the last five months. He is presently in a rich vein of form.

But Butler too will have plenty championing his cause. Despite just 15 pro fights on his CV, 'The Baby Faced Assassin' from Ellesmere Port is commonly acknowledged as one of the most complete all round operators currently active in Britain.

A former ABA champion, who undertook extensive national service in the England singlet, the 25 year old oozes class. Extremely genial away from the sport, Butler is one spiteful, merciless little bleeder once he steps between the ropes. A huge ticket seller, he can expect hordes to follow him from the north-west.

At 5ft 8in tall, Butler certainly has the frame to carry the additional three pounds and I believe that he, not Hall, could emerge as the puncher in this fight. He is more precise and accurate, and has superior timing - I hope.

Factor in that both defeats on Hall's 20 fight slate came against a pair of fleet footed European champions in Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins. And Butler can dance with the best of them!

There are just so many imponderables that could influence the outcome here and that is what makes this such a potentially special encounter.

BoxNation continues to deliver the very best fighters from around the globe to British TV screens, week after week.

In the wee hours of last Sunday morning, The Channel of Champions broadcast Filipino great Manny Pacquiao exacting revenge over a mysteriously wild and erratic Tim Bradley to bag the WBO welter strap via 12 round unanimous decision.

Even at 35, 'Pacman', a seven time, six-weight world champion, remains an irrepressible force. However, at times the previously unbeaten Bradley was flailing like a frustrated child on the school yard.

Tonight subscribers get to feast on a triple world championship card from the DC Armory in Washington DC.

In the headline act, the incomparable Bernard Hopkins endeavours to become the oldest fighter in ring history to unify a world title when he gambles his IBF belt against WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan.

'BHop', now well into his 50th year, remains the cutest operator in the business and connoisseurs should savour him each time he goes into battle.

***

Plenty of thrills and spills at my 'Power of London' promotion at the Copper Box Arena last weekend.

Welterweight Bradley 'Super' Skeete and super-bantam Lewis Pettitt – stablemates at the iBox Gym in Bromley – both advanced several rungs with sizzling stoppage wins in WBA InterContinental fights while Chris Eubank Jnr. looked sensational knocking down his opponent cold with a single left uppercut. A huge showdown with Billy Joe Saunders beckons sometime in the next 12 months.

On the flip side, house fighters Frank Buglioni and Georgie Keen all endured surprise defeats; a consequence of competitive matchmaking and the delightfully unpredictable nature of this sport.

All are young enough and gifted enough to come again.

***

Bury action man Scott Quigg makes a second defence of his diluted WBA bantam strap this evening when he meets South Africa's Tshifhawa Munyai at the Manchester Arena.

Don't expect the Lancastrian to be 'calling out' the WBA's 'Super' champion, the formidable Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba, any time soon.

Indeed, Quigg might have his work cut out repelling tonight's challenger. Known as 'The Atomic Spider', Munyai destroyed Brits Martin Power (twice) and Lee Haskins in Commonwealth bantam spats on these shores in 2006-7. At 9-1 against, he represents good value. Sky Sports televise live.

***

Very sad news this week that the highly respected and well liked West Ham Boxing Club trainer Mickey May passed away at the age of 74.

In a career spanning over 30 years, the first class disciplinarian with a no-nonsense approach, produced well over 100 national champions and become known as one of the top star-makers in amateur boxing.

Stevie Roberts and Kevin Lear, who later both went on to claim world titles in the pro ranks, Kevin Mitchell and Matthew Marsh are just some of the boxers he brought through.

A golden year In 2012 saw Mickey carry the Olympic torch in Greenwich, have lunch with the Queen and named Coach Of The Year by ABA England.

A little known fact is that he also fought on one of my shows at the Rainbow Theatre in my early days of promoting before I got a Board license.

It's a very big loss to the amateur sport and my condolences go out to his family.

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