On an action-packed weekend of boxing, Connor Butler (10-0-1, 1KO) and Matt Windle (7-4-1, 1KO) are set to trade blows for the Commonwealth and vacant European flyweight titles at the Liverpool Olympia on Friday night.
A month on from Jay Harris‘ impressive stoppage of Tommy Frank to claim the British belt at 112lbs, the domestic division is starting to take shape in a division often overlooked by fans who favour the glitz and glamour of the higher weights.
It’s Butler who heads into the contest with the momentum having claimed the vacant Commonwealth strap with a comfortable unanimous decision win over Craig Derbyshire in February last year.
A man with a near perfect record – the only blemish a technical draw versus Steven Maguire – Liverpool’s Butler is expecting a stern test against the Midlander Windle come the opening bell.
“Me and Matt are both professional – we’re class pros”, Butler told BBTV.
“For what we have to do in the sport, respect goes a long way so I’m looking forward to settling it like men tomorrow night. I’ve gotta be on my game as I always am and I expect him to be as well – tomorrow night we’ll settle it.”
Windle, who holds the Commonwealth belt down at light-flyweight, admits he was surprised to get the call but vows to make the most of the opportunity in Butler’s own backyard.
“I wasn’t looking at the flyweight division at all. [The aim was] defending the Commonwealth and looking to go the international route.
“But when Spencer McCracken, my coach and manager, phoned me about it I said ‘can we not just do one fight at flyweight for the European title?'”
The card is also set for an intense Liverpool derby as Ryan Farrag (21-4-0, 6KOs) and Marcel Braithwaite (14-3-1) come face-to-face for the vacant Commonwealth super-flyweight title.
Farrag, the former European bantamweight champion, returned for his first fight in four years with a second-round knockout in February.
Previously campaigning out of Spain, the 35-year-old is confident of claiming the vacant belt against his Scouse counterpart.
“He’s a dangerous opponent, I’ve seen him rock a few fighters so I know he’s got a little bit of power. I’ll treat him with caution”, Farrag said.
“That Commonwealth belt’s coming home with me, I won’t talk too much but I’ve got a good idea of how it’s gonna go in my head.”
Braithwaite meanwhile fought to a split-decision draw for the British and Commonwealth titles against Ijaz Ahmed in March.
The 29 year old cut a relaxed figure on Thursday’s weigh-in as he looks to add to the English belt he won back in 2019.
“I’ll be chilling until it’s work time, I do this every single day. It’s no different”, Braithwaite said.
“[Some say] I should already be British and Commonwealth title, I say ‘I will be’. I’ll get this and then I’ll become British champion.”
- CONNOR BUTLER vs MATT WINDLE – Commonwealth & vacant European Flyweight titles (12 x 3)
- RYAN FARRAG vs MARCEL BRAITHWAITE – vacant Commonwealth Super-Flyweight title (12 x 3)
- HAKEEM PALMER vs KYLE PAEVIE – Super-Welterweight (6 x 3)
- HAITHEM LAAMOUZ vs JONATAS GOMES DE OLIVEIRA – Super-Featherweight (6 x 3)
- CHARLOTTE POWELL vs VAIDA MASIOKAITE – Super-Featherweight (6 x 2)
- DAVID THOMPSON vs NIKOLA STOYANOV – Middleweight (6 x 3)
- JAMES FARRELL vs RYAN LABOURN – Cruiserweight (4 x 3)