Paul Butler’s chances of restoring his world title status have soared with news WBO Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero has been withdrawn from Friday’s title fight at the M&S Arena.

Champ Casimero has been pulled from the Probellum promoted show after breaching British Boxing Board of Control medical guidance by using saunas to cut weight.

Ellesmere Port’s Butler, who reigned for nine months on the IBF bantam throne in 2014/15, will face deputising Jonas Sultan.

The vacant WBO Interim Title is now on the line while Casimero has been ordered by the WBO to “show cause” as to why he should not be stripped.

Butler entered as a significant outsider to Casimero – a three-weight global titlist, contesting nine world title scraps over the past decade.

Now the betting odds have flipped in Butler’s favour as Sultan steps in at short notice.

In addition to home-court advantage, the Chester-born box-fighter holds a seven-fight win streak and significant sway in experience, having fought a dozen more pro fights and 83 additional rounds.


No easy feat

At 31, Sultan is two years Butler’s junior and has yet to suffer a stoppage defeat in his 23 paid outings – including a May 2018 IBF Super-Fly world title challenge to his Filipino compatriot Jerwin Ancajas.

Ominously dubbed ‘One Punch Zorro’, the man from Cebu City holds a superior stoppage ratio to Butler, having iced 11 of 18 victims, including four wins by clean count-out.

Sultan is also undefeated since rising to 118lbs last October and the five defeats that soil his CV require scrutiny.

Two came by contentious six-round ‘split’ decisions during the embryonic stages of his nine-year career.

The three most recent reverses were against home fancies in Japan, the USA and South Africa.

He has already started six times outside his native Philippines and is therefore unlikely to be unduly unnerved by Butler’s choir at the M&S Arena come Friday.  

Butler needs to be his stylish best to prevail in a contest downgraded to the WBO’s ‘interim’ Bantamweight world title.