By Danny Winterbottom
Zolani Tete (20-3, 17KOs) successfully defended his IBF super flyweight title for the first time when he unleashed a brutal uppercut to stop local favourite Paul Butler (17-1, 8 KOs) in round eight of a scheduled 12 inside the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
The two fighters were all set to meet back in October until Tete, from Eastern Cape South Africa, broke his hand just weeks out from the proposed date but the eight month layoff between the southpaw winning the title in Japan and travelling to Liverpool to face Butler had zero effect on his performance.
The fact is Tete was almost punch perfect as he used his superb jab and timing to upset the rhythm of Butler who was met with a glove in the face every time he came within punching range of the tall southpaw who was a joy to watch in full flow.
The fight was quickly turning into a nightmare for Butler who had breezed through his preliminary bouts with ease but had no answer to the skill and elusiveness of his opponent and by half way Boxingscene had the champion winning each session.
Butler’s success came when he was able to muscle his way inside and catch Tete with swinging hooks as the champion made his retreat but they were few and far between and interspersed with Tete stunning Butler with hard back hand lefts that he had now brought to the party.
Round seven saw more hard left hands pepper Butler as he tried in vain to close the range on Tete and make something happen as the fight slipped further and further away from the clutches of the Ellesmere Port star.
Tete tried a left uppercut on the inside that clipped the chin of Butler making the challenger, who was bleeding from the nose, bang his gloves together in frustration but little did he know that moments later Tete would unleash another, more wicked version of the same shot sending Butler crashing to the canvas.
Butler bravely made it to his feet but was on unsteady legs as referee Phil Edwards waved the contest off with the time at 1-34 of round eight sending Tete and his team into wild celebrations.
If any trainers have a tall, rangy southpaw in their gym I suggest they take a look at the tape of Tete’s performance. He put on a clinic and future matches with WBC champion Carlos Cuadras and Japan sensation Naoya Inoue are mouthwatering prospects.
“I’m really gutted right now” said Butler later. “It is my first loss as a professional and it’s a hard one to take. Tete is a very good champion, he’s very awkward and he picked his shots well.
“I’ll rest, regroup and comeback.”
Liverpool warrior Derry Mathews (37-9, 20 KOs) shock off the disappointment of his cancelled shot at WBA lightweight champion Richard Abril with a solid, professional display against Gyorgy Mizei Jnr (21-13, 12 KOs) stopping the tall Hungarian with a straight right hand in round five.
Mathews couldn’t afford any slip ups against Mizei who had fought for the European title in his last contest in January but after a slow start the Liverpudlian got the job done and will challenge Abril on April 18 at the Echo Arena.
European flyweight champion Kevin Satchell (14-0, 3 KOs) took less than three minutes to dispatch the hapless Walter Rojas (24-6, 23 KOs) of Argentina with a left hook to the liver doing the damage at 2:54 of round one.
At the weigh in on Thursday Rojas, who has boxed several of the top operators in various lower weight class divisions but has been destroyed by them all, scaled 7st 5lbs causing a few raised eyebrows amongst team Satchell but by fight night his weight was announced as 8st.
Not that any of that mattered because in the ring Rojas was terrible. His balance was poor and Satchell only tapped him with a left to the body in the opening moments causing him to grimace in pain. Seconds later he was down again from a left to the liver and this time he didn’t get up much to the amusement of Satchell. For Rojas read ‘padded record’!
In the fight of the night James ‘Jazza’ Dickens (19-1, 6 KOs) collected the vacant British super bantamweight title with a unanimous point’s victory over Barnsley’s Josh Wale (17-7, 10 KOs)
Judges Phil Edwards and Terry O’Connor both saw the contest 115-112 for the Liverpudlian whilst Dave Parris carded 116-110.
BoxingScene.com saw it 115-112 for Dickens who had two points deducted for excessive use of his shoulder, one in round 5 and another in round 10.
Dickens had taken hot talent Kid Galahad to the wire in his previous challenge for the British title in 2013 before succumbing to a tenth round stoppage defeat and Wale had drawn and lost to new European champion Gavin McDonnell.
Southpaw Dickens was ultra-sharp from the off as Wale found himself in punching range but unable to get his shots off as the slippery Scouser would tag him with his backhand left and slide out of range again.
Wale was nicked by the corner of his right eye as he struggled to get to grips with Dickens who was boxing well from range.
However Wale hung tough and as Dickens tired and languished on the inside for too long the Barnsley man began to have success with chopping rights and he bloodied the nose of Dickens in round five who had a point deducted for use of the shoulder.
Wale’s corner team were encouraging their man to keep moving forwards, suspecting that Dickens was tiring as he had done against Galahad, but Jazza would still produce the eye catching shots when it mattered.
By round seven the bout was a grueling inside affair that began to edge Wale into the fight. Dickens would dip and sway but was caught by chopping rights and cuffing lefts and the session proved difficult to score.
BoxingScene.com had Dickens up 69-65 after seven rounds and he swept rounds eight and nine before Wale came back to take round 10, courtesy of a Dickens point deduction, and round 11.
Wale put on the pressure in round 12 as he chased the fight but Dickens ‘smarter work from the outside claimed the session on my card and BoxingScene.com scored the bout 117-112 for the newly crowned British super bantamweight champion.
Other results from the card:
Liam Smith TKO 8 Robert Talerek
Steven Lewis KO 2 Kevin Hanks
Jack Catterall TKO 5 Cesar David Inalef
Thomas Stalker WPTS 6 Michael Mooney