world boxing

Sultan yields to Butler in fight for WBO bantamweight belt

Roy Luarca
Sultan yields to Butler in fight for WBO bantamweight belt

CRAFTY. Paul Butler prevents Jonas Sultan from unleashing his killer punches.


Filipino fighter Jonas Sultan suffers another setback in his bid to become a world champion

MANILA, Philippines – Jonas Sultan failed to land the big punches he’s known for and lost via unanimous decision to Paul Butler in their collision for the WBO interim bantamweight crown on Friday, April 22 (Saturday, April 23, Philippine time)  at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. England.

Unable to cut off the ring against the elusive, crafty Briton, Sultan trailed in the judges’ scorecards, 116-112, 118-110, and 117-111 after 12 rounds and suffered another setback in his bid to become a world champion.

In 2018, Sultan got his first chance against fellow Filipino and IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas but also lost by unanimous decision.

A substitute for fellow Filipino John Riel Casimero,  Sultan brought the fight to Butler, who, however, proved to be an able defender and a fast runner.

During the official weigh-in, where he checked in at 117.8 pounds, Butler bared that he saw flaws in Sultan’s style that he could exploit in their bout.

“I had 48 hours to get a game plan together,” said Butler, who held the IBF bantamweight belt in 2014. 

And true enough, he was able to neutralize Sultan’s perceived edge in power. “I nullified the bull tonight,” referring to the onrushing Sultan.

Thriving on a hit-and-run style, the 33-year-old Butler raised his record to 34-2 with 15 knockouts while Sultan, 31, dropped to 18-6 with 11 knockouts.

Aware of Sultan’s one-punch prowess, Butler fired combinations to prevent Sultan from setting up for the killer punches.

Sultan rocked Butler in the third round, but the Briton wisely backpedaled and shook off its effect.

Near the end of the eighth, Sultan was able to sneak in some solid punches to steal the round. Sultan went on to control the ninth, but Butler stood his ground and got back to work in the late rounds.

Butler could be upgraded to full world champion status if the WBO finds Casimero’s explanation of using the sauna to shed weight, which is prohibited by the British Boxing Board of Control when a fight is in close proximity, unacceptable.

Sultan admitted he fell short on his mission.

“I didn’t expect him to run and be that difficult to hit,” Sultan, whose face is virtually clean save for a lump near the right eye, said in Filipino. 

“He also knows how to connect with clean shots. I hurt him but I couldn’t follow up.”

Sultan’s promoter Brendan Gibbons, MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons, and cutman Andy O’ Neill worked the Zamboangueno’s corner in the absence of a regular coach.

“I’ll go back home for a while, rest and be with my family,” said Sultan, adding that Sean Gibbons would work out a fight for him in September.  –