By Elliot Foster
Paul Butler produced a clinical performance to defeat rival Stuart Hall in a rematch that doubled up as a bantamweight world title eliminator.
The 28-year-old former super-flyweight British and Commonwealth champion, who had challenged for a world title at the weight, is now in line to challenge for the WBA ‘regular’ world title, currently in the hands of Doncaster's Jamie McDonnell.
Butler, coached by Joe Gallagher in Bolton and nicknamed ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’, boxed supremely well from the off and eventually got the verdict via scores of 117-111 and 118-110 twice at the ECHO Arena in his first fight under new promoter Eddie Hearn.
He had secured a split decision when the pair fought first time around back in 2014, but the win on Saturday was ultimately more conclusive and outlined his readiness for a shot at the world title, which is something he has craved since losing to Zolani Tete back in 2015.
Hall came forward, looking to land on Butler, but the younger man’s fresher skills and more comfortable back-foot boxing was flashy and classy, ultimately paving the way for the victory.
“It was a very sweet victory, I knew I had to be smart and box him,” Butler said afterwards.
“I've improved massively, I'm a lot more composed, I pretty much neglected everything Hall wanted to do.
“I'm most definitely ready to fight for a world title, we want Jamie McDonnell next.”
Hearn revealed post-fight that McDonnell has agreed to fight Butler next, providing he gets through his November 4 rematch against Liborio Solis in Monte Carlo.
The difficulty with that is that Butler could be waiting around until March for the fight and a decision will be made in due course, after discussions, as to whether he will sit out until then or whether he will box in the interim.