The British title might not be on the line, but a victory on Saturday night for Iain Butcher (16-2, 5 KOs) would slam the door shut on a period in his career that has been heavily associated with one fighter.
The 24-year-old Scot takes on former GB team-mate Charlie Edwards (9-1, 4 KOs) in Glasgow with only the latter able to win the British super flyweight title after he successfully made weight but Butcher did not. An intriguing contest nonetheless and one which is chief support status for Ricky Burns’ world super lightweight title unification clash with Julius Indongo.
Butcher apologises for not making the weight
— iain butcher (@baby1butch) April 14, 2017
Still a ‘Meaty Opportunity’ for Butcher, writes Shaun Brown
This high-profile opportunity for Butcher is long overdue and is his first since his fight against Kevin Satchell in 2013. A night where Butcher went into the British and Commonwealth flyweight champion’s Merseyside backyard but came away with a traditionally Scottish brave defeat. The scorecards: 115-114 and 115-113 (twice) reflected how close Butcher came. Some had the challenger winning but regardless of opinion there was just cause for a rematch. A rematch which never happened.
“The politics side of it regarding the Satchell side of things was disgusting, the way I was treated,” said Butcher looking back at a period which tested his desire to continue boxing.
“It states in the [rule] book you’ll box within six months if you’re a mandatory challenger and I was mandatory challenger for about 13-14 months before he was stripped of the title!
“A couple of times I felt like taking time away from the gym but I was always in the gym. Even if I wasn’t planning a fight I was in the gym doing something. I was never ever going to walk away from it. It was always a natural thing that I was in the gym so I knew then it was time to give it a proper go.
“Nobody was going to pick me for a defence or anything like that just because of what happened with the Satchell fight. I don’t have any grievances with Kevin with the fight. It’s down to him, his team, his management about the way they did things. I put it behind me quite fast. Deep down I won the fight and deep down he knows I won the fight. There was no point prolonging it.
“I thought with it being boxing he would have been manlier enough to give me the rematch I was entitled to, than me being in a mandatory position. The pressure he was being put under I thought he was going to be forced into the fight but it’s done now. I’ve moved on from that. That fight has made me where I am now. He’s chasing a world title fight. He’s never going to win a world title. He’s not good enough to win a world title.”
Like many Scottish fighters over the last few years Butcher sat down with MTK Scotland promoter Sam Kynoch to find a new way forward for his career. It was time for Butcher to get back to fighting. To box regularly, keep winning and to force his way back into contention for the big fights he craves.
Eight wins from nine since the disappointment of the Satchell loss have saw Butcher presented with a golden opportunity. One that would lock up the past and open up a future that would provide many more great Scottish boxing nights should he overcome the challenge of Edwards.
Like other Scottish fighters on the bill Butcher will have the backing of some of the most vocal and passionate fight fans in the world. Some fighters would thrive on it, but the Motherwell man refuses to get caught up in the fervour and excitement.
“I don’t read anything into it. Nobody’s really looking into me apart from the people buying tickets from me. You generally get more ticket sales because Ricky Burns is the headline act. I know some of them are just getting tickets off me for Ricky Burns’ sake.
“I don’t see it as any added pressure. I know what I need to do. I’m a mature guy now, I know I need to bypass the crowd as I’m coming out. It’s not going to be added pressure. I never look at the crowd. I done that in the Satchell fight. People thought I’d be intimidated. You just blank it out. I’ll be in a mindset where I know what I need to do and I’ve got a job to do. You need to stay professional.
“Charlie might be looking at it different. I’ll be sticking to the gameplan, listening to my two brothers, what they’ve taught me through the training camp and I’ll be putting that into practice on the night. That’s what will be in my mind.
“The crowd won’t play a part on my behalf. I’m looking forward to going in there. It doesn’t matter if I box at home or in a foreign country, you just get on with your own business. The better man on the day will win. It doesn’t matter where in the country you’ll box. It’s only you two in the ring that can decide the outcome of what is going to happen.”
Butcher credits Edwards for taking the fight on away soil. The Englishman was handed a world title opportunity in just his ninth fight last year when he challenged John Riel Casimero for the IBF world flyweight title. A step too far. Waters that were too deep. Edwards didn’t sink but he showed that he can’t take his armbands off just yet.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) April 13, 2017
Now trained by Adam Booth, Edwards is resurgent, full of confidence and has his swagger back. A fight with Butcher is one that he has been chasing, according to his own words. He says they had history as amateurs. Perhaps an exaggeration as Butcher explained.
“To me there Is no history,” said Butcher.
“We done rounds in the GB squad. We were in the GB squad for a year and a half together. There’s no bad feud between us or dislike to each other. We were in the same weight category in the GB squad and done many rounds. I’ve never ever chased Charlie for a fight because he’s never been in a position for me to chase. He’s never had a title that I was going to chase. My eyes have always been on the people with titles.
“Charlie’s a good boy, he’s done good things and that but he’s beatable. He was exposed when he jumped up a step far too far for him against Casimero. He was exposed big time. Even previous to that fight Charlie was always beatable. He’s got flaws. He does work that’s easy to capitalise on. You just need the right people to sit down with you and look for it. It’s a good fight. I’m not saying I’m going to blow him away. He’s a good boy, it’s a big fight for him and he’s got a statement to make as well. I’ll give him the respect he’s due but when we get in the ring all respect will be gone. It’s time for me to show that I’m better than Charlie.”