A war of words on Twitter begun by Paul Butlin has helped secure the Melton professional boxer the title fight he craved.
Butlin told the Melton Times how he helped engineer the Midlands heavyweight title bout with Shane McPhilbin having originally been told it was unlikely to happen.
He taunted the former British cruiserweight champion on social media, sparking a furious reaction from the Nottingham boxer.
The frantic trash talk attracted the attention of boxing fans across the country and persuaded McPhilbin and promoters to sanction a clash between the two. The contest will take place at the North Kesteven Leisure Centre in North Hykeham, near Lincoln, on Saturday, May 17.
Butlin said: “I was told the fight wasn’t going to happen because he (McPhilbin) hadn’t had the matches and wasn’t fit. So I decided to go on Twitter and start a war.
“I’ve got what I wanted and I’m chuffed to bits. It’s all made the fight a bit more interesting, too. People who haven’t even been to boxing before have been asking for tickets.”
For Butlin, who turns 38 on Sunday, it’s a gilt-edged opportunity to win the first official title of a 12-year pro career.
It’s also a chance to avenge the points defeat he suffered in his 2009 Midlands showdown against Lee Swaby.
He added: “I fought my heart out, but I felt I got ripped off in his home town. It was my first 10-rounder, but I have much more experience now.”
Butlin and McPhilbin have met in the ring before when the pair sparred at Butlin’s Hardknocks Gym, but the Melton man insists his opponent will be meeting a much tougher prospect in May.
He added: “I’m a completely different fighter now and I’m still learning and still progressing. I’ve just go to do a few more of the things in the fight that I do in training.
“I’m going to cut down as low as I can and ruin him. I want this one badly.”
Butlin’s manager Carl Greaves also looks after McPhilbin and knows he must toe a neutral line in the build-up to the clash.
He said: “Paul has had it hard for most of his career. He’s had one or two opportunities but he probably won’t get a better chance to win a title. It would be nice for him to win something.
“It has all been getting a bit heated so that should make for a good fight.”