After an eventful 14-year professional career, retired boxer Paul Butlin has been honoured by the sport with a special award.
The Midlands Boxing Board of Control invited the 40-year-old former heavyweight to their annual presentation night in Birmingham to receive their Services to Boxing award.
After plenty of soul searching, Butlin decided to hang up his gloves in June after being knocked unconscious for the first time in his 41-bout career by Kash Ali.
The fears of picking up a serious injury and the prospect of starting a new job persuaded the Midlands heavyweight champion to call it a day.
“It was nice to finish it off with this,” he said. “They told me they were really proud to have me there.
“I can’t knock it really. There are even world champions who haven’t done what I did in my career.
“I’m happy to have retired and not been too beat up.”
Butlin travelled the length and breadth of Europe to compete, often accepting matches at only a few weeks’ notice against unbeaten opponents.
He finally ticked off a long-time ambition by winning the Midlands belt in 2014, but perhaps his main career highlight was provided by the calibre of one particular opponent.
Yesterday was the third anniversary of the night Butlin stepped into the ring with Anthony Joshua.
He was chosen as the second opponent of Joshua’s professional career on a path which took him rapidly to world champion.
The fight was broadcast live on TV and earned the Melton boxer plenty of plaudits for his courage and heart.
Butlin also fought in front of 60,000 fans in Germany on the undercard of a Wladimir Klitschko world title fight when he took world top 10 boxer Johnathan Banks to seven rounds.
Having spent the best part of a decade-and-a-half tied to a routine, does he miss the boxing life?
“It’s weird, but no. I spoke to Carl (Greaves – manager) about it and he was the same.
“You are obsessed with boxing for so long, but once you get your head around retirement, that’s it. I can’t explain it.
“As boxing goes I’m not that bothered at the moment.
“I did watch some boxing at Birmingham on Sky last week and thought it would be good to be there, but it’s all the kids coming through now and the heavyweights are bigger. Boxing has changed.”
Butlin has thrown himself into his new career as a self-employed enforcement officer, and also spends two days a week working at his Melton-based Hardknocks Boxing and Fitness Gym.
With a busy family life on top, requests to pass his experience on to up-and-coming hopefuls have to be put on the backburner, for now at least.
“I have to be a bit selfish with my time now,” he added. “I’ve already had a couple of phone calls about coaching.
“There was even a guy from Latvia who was keen, but it’s not fair to get him over here because I can’t put the time in.”
After some indulgent time following the end of the repetitive cycle of eat, sleep and train, Butlin is now keen to get some of his fitness back.
“I hadn’t trained for four or five months, but I went back last night and got my mojo back at bit,” he said.
“I think I deserved a break. For years and years it has just been about training; every Christmas and holiday.
“I used to get up at 5.30am to run, but I’m not doing that anymore!”