The World Boxing Organization on Wednesday ordered Paul Butler of the United Kingdom to face Jonas Sultan of the Philippines instead of champion John Reil Casimero for the World Boxing Organization interim bantamweight crown on April 22 (Saturday Philippine time) in Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
The WBO’s order came a few hours after WBO bantamweight titleholder Casimero, also of the Philippines, was declared “not fit to fight” by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC), denying the Filipino the permission to defend his WBO bantamweight title he won more than two years ago.
With Casimero out of the picture, the WBO granted the request of the fight’s promoter, Harrison Whitman of Probellum, to sanction a championship bout between Butler and the “first available World Bantamweight contender”, who is Sultan.
Curiously, Sultan (14 wins, 4 losses), who once defeated Casimero in a non-title fight in 2017 and is currently at no. 4, is in town as a standby opponent.
The Cebuano pug has won four of his last five fights, including a 10-round decision win over previously unbeaten compatriot Carlos Caballo last Oct. 20 in New York.
Butler (33-2, 15 KOs), who previously held the International Boxing Federation bantamweight title, has won seven fights since losing to Mexican Emmanuel Rodriguez in May, 2018 for the vacant IBF bantamweight title.
Casimero was scheduled to face Butler, the mandatory challenger on the original card at the Echo Arena, but this has been ruled out after the BBBoC found an infraction by the Filipino in its strict medical policy.
In a formal letter to the WBO, the BBBoC said they found out that Casimero “has made use of the sauna in close proximity” to the scheduled fight.
“As you are aware, this is against BBBoC’s medical guidelines and therefore we can’t permit him to compete in the proposed contest on Friday,” said Robert Smith, general secretary of the BBBoC.
Using a sauna is one of the most often used methods to reduce weight, but reducing too much excess weight nearing fight day puts the boxer’s health in immense danger.
In a swift response, the WBO immediately issued a ‘Show Cause’ order to Casimero and his team within 48 hours why it should not be stripped of the title he has already failed to defend for the next two years and four months since winning the crown from his November 2019 third-round knockout of Zolani Tete in Birmingham, England
Luis Batista Salas of the WBO Championship Committee approved the Butler-Sultan bout.
In just a few hours, the fight poster also changed from Casimero-Butler to Sultan-Butler fight for the WBO interim bantamweight title