Liverpool super-flyweight Paul Butler(now 17-1, 8KO’s) was unsuccessful in his attempt to win a second world title in two weight classes when he was comprehensively outboxed by the IBF champion Zolani Tete in Liverpool on March 7th.
Tete improved his record to 20-3 with 17KO’s when he crushed Butler with a left uppercut in the eighth round having won every session leading up to that point behind his long right jab and straight left from the southpaw stance, and all in his challenger’s back yard.
Butler cannot be criticised for a lack of effort as he struggled tremendously against a smooth operator who clearly outsized him when they stepped in the ring together. He could not negate Tete’s reach as the jab was an ever-present weapon wielded by the travelling South African, varying in power, target and volume whenever he chose to throw it. On the inside, it was the same story as the undersized Butler could do nothing but try and wriggle free from Tete’s grasp whenever they became entangled.
Butler spoke with IFL TV directly after the fight’s conclusion.
“Very disappointed, I wanted that world title but the better man won on the night. He landed a great shot; I didn’t see the shot.”
“I believe if I had seen the shot coming I’d have probably took it, but it’s the shot you don’t see that hurts.”
The punch the put him away -the left uppercut mentioned above- was a carbon copy of a shot Tete landed just moments before the crucial blow. It seemed to stun Butler into standing still, so Tete just stepped out and then back in with the same shovelling arc and wiped Butler out. It was a shocking moment and an emphatic way to sign-off on such a dominant display.
Butler did not try and pass the loss off as a result of one lucky shot though, admitting he knew he was being outclassed when he was in there.
“After round seven I went back to the corner, I was frustrated and I said ‘this is a shutout.’ I just could not get going at all.”
“I just couldn’t get into it. Like I said before the fight he’s everyone’s worse nightmare; tall, long southpaw. Believe me he can punch, the first shot he landed was a jab to the body, and I felt that.”
All in all the champion just had too much for Butler. Tete executed the perfect strategy to fit his physical dimensions, and he nullified every attempt by Butler to get inside and start unloading combinations. We will now see how Butler intends to go on by the calibre of his next few opponents, and whether this kind of defeat will dent the confidence he has brought into every bout up to this point.