British Super-Flyweight Champion Paul Butler swaps the ring for the racecourse this Saturday (16th February) when he heads to Haydock Park as a celebrity guest at the Betfred Grand National Trial raceday.
The Ellesmere Port star is preparing for his toughest challenge yet when he takes on the hard-hitting Nigerian Yaqub Kareem for his Commonwealth title next month at the Liverpool Olympia, but the big horse racing fan is excited to attend the staying handicap chase which is a stepping stone for the big Grand National.
Butler will take his prized Lonsdale belt and pose for photos and sign autographs with the race fans’ in attendance.
He said, “I love going to the races and having a bet as it’s a welcome break away from all the day-to-day hard training I do building up towards a fight so I’m delighted that Haydock have invited me attend,”
“I’ve been there a few times before and it’s a great place in a beautiful setting with a cracking atmosphere so I’m looking to forward to this Saturday’s race and putting down a few bets and seeing if I can come away with some winnings for a change!”
Butler could have been a jockey, but the power lies in his fists with the unbeaten 24-year-old stopping four out of his nine opponents early.
And in his last fight, the crippling body shot he landed on John Donnelly last November in the opening round, reminiscent of Ricky Hatton, to capture the British title was one of the domestic knockouts of the year.
He’s expecting a tough battle against hard-hitting Kareem, who’s stopped seven out of his 10 wins, with only two losses and a draw, but he’s confident he can add the Commonwealth belt.
He added, “I know with my size and weight I could have been a jockey and I did think about it a couple of times. The two sports are quite similar with all the training and weight making involved between the boxers and jockeys. I don’t think I could have controlled a thoroughbred horse though, they are pretty powerful animals, I have trouble taking my dog for a walk!”
“They call horse racing the Sport of Kings but I will eventually be king of my sport. My fight against Kareem is just one of the hurdles in my way towards the World title and I won’t fail this one. There are a lot more to overcome in the next couple of years but my dream would be to get the European title next to make in a treble in back-to-back fights.”
“My blinkers are on for this fight and it’s crucial I beat Kareem to stay on track.”
The first race on Saturday at Haydock is at 1.45pm.
On-the-day admission: Premier £45; County Stand £30; Tattersalls £20; Newton Enclosure £13. Accompanied children under 18 are admitted free of charge. A special Valentine’s menu is available in the racecourse’s Colours Restaurant. More information is available at www.haydock-park.co.uk where tickets can be bought online. Telephone bookings can be made on 0844 579 3006.
Butler v Kareem headlines a quality packed show on Friday 8th March at the Liverpool Olympia, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
The show also features Liverpool ace Stephen Smith in a six round contest; undefeated Liverpool light-middleweight Joe Selkirk; 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion Callum Johnson from Lincoln, plus Ellesmere Port talent Matthew Fagan in his second professional fight. Two of Wales’ best unbeaten prospects, super-featherweight Craig Evans from Blackwood and light-welterweight Lewis Rees from Tonypandy both feature on the undercard.
Remaining tickets priced at £30, £40 and £60 are available from Eventim on 0844 249 1000 or eventim.co.uk
Butler v Karim is live and exclusive on The Home of Champions BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com