MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino boxer Jonas Sultan will challenge Paul Butler of the United Kingdom for the interim WBO bantamweight championship on April 22 at Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena.
The fight was made official by Probellum on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), after John Riel Casimero was pulled off the card. The 33-year-old Casimero was disallowed by the British Boxing Board of Control to fight Butler, after his alleged violation of medical guidelines heading into the fight.
Casimero was found to have used a sauna to aid in his weight loss, which is forbidden by British boxing officials.
READ: Casimero broke weight-loss rules ahead of title fight, says British boxing body
READ: GAB to investigate Casimero over alleged violation of medical guidelines
Sultan (18-5, 11 knockouts), the WBO Intercontinental bantamweight champion, has thus been mandated to step up for his countryman. The 30-year-old is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Carabello at Madison Square Garden in October.
Sultan is unbeaten since his move up to bantamweight last year, also knocking out American Sharone Carter in August.
"This is a big moment for me and I am hungry for it. There is a lot of hard work that has gone into my preparation and it was meant to be that I get in the ring against Butler this week," said Sultan.
"I will be dedicating this fight to my friend Ali Tazeem who tragically died last week. I have been training with him since we came over to the UK to prepare for this fight and I am 100% focused on bringing the belt home to his family when I win on Friday night," he added.
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Sultan will be taking on Butler, who comes in with a 35-2 record, with 15 knockouts. The British boxer has won his last seven fights.
Also set to take place in the Probellum fight card is Sam Maxwell's IBO super-lightweight world title fight against Alejandro Meneses.
Local favorites Jazza Dickens, and brothers Peter and Joe McGrail complete the home interest in a night sure to entice a partisan local support in one of Britain’s boxing hotbeds.