Oakham heavyweight Paul Butlin on track for big Midlands title fight

Paul Butlin
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Oakham heavyweight Paul Butlin beat James Oliphant 39-38 in a points decision on Saturday night to give himself a shot at the Midlands title later this year.

Butlin, 37, beat Leeds fighter Oliphant in the second bout at the North Hykeham Leisure Centre, near Lincoln.

The Rutland heavyweight, who runs Hardknocks Boxing & Fitness Gym in Melton Mowbray, was happy with the win but disappointed with the close scores given by referee Robert Chalmers, feeling he dominated proceedings in the four-round fight.

Butlin said: “I won every round. The ref must have been blind to score it that close.

“He only landed two punches clean in the whole fight and I haven’t got a mark on me so that tells you all you need to know.

“It all went to plan. Carl Greaves [Butlin’s manager] said it was the best I have boxed for ages.”

Butlin said Oliphant was an awkward fighter, looking to clinch at every opportunity but his superior fitness paid off.

After victory in Butlin’s 35th professional fight, Greaves now plans to put him through to fight for the vacant Midlands heavyweight title with Shane McPhilbin who became British Cruiserweight champion in 2012.

The title fight is scheduled to take place as early as May and could take place at Wembley, possibly as an undercard fight to the Carl Froch v George Groves rematch.

The fight will be Butlin’s second shot at the Midland’s title after he lost a 10-round match on points to Lee Swaby at the Lincoln Showground, in May 2009.

Butlin, who sits one place behind his next opponent in the BoxRec rankings at 27th, said he is confident about taking on McPhilbin in May.

Butlin said: “I fight better over ten rounds. It is weird, it suits me better than four rounds like on Saturday.

“I will outwork him and I am going to be fitter than him.”

Butlin now moves to a professional career record of 15 wins, 20 losses and 0 draws.

His beaten opponent Oliphant remains without a professional win, falling to a record of 0 wins, 6 losses, and 2 draws.

The fight was Butlin’s first return to the ring since losing to Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua.

The Oakham boxer met Joshua in just his second professional fight but the bout lasted just two rounds at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield on October 26, when the referee decided Butlin was taking too much punishment and had a serious cut to his left eye, declaring Joshua the winner by TKO.

Joshua also fought on Saturday night, taking just 134 seconds to dismiss Argentine fighter Hector Avila in Glasgow to claim his fifth win as a professional.

The unbeaten heavyweight is widely tipped to be a future world champion.