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Bristol's Danny Butler takes on the unbeaten Thomas Costello for the vacant English middleweight title on March 9 at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton.

Butler, 20-5 (5 KOs), is the much more experienced of the two, having previously fought for the British and Commonwealth titles, stepping in at late notice to challenge Darren Barker in 2009.

The likeable 25 year old has also shared the ring with world title challenger Martin Murray, losing by split decision in a 2008 edition of the popular 'Prizefighter' knockout competition. Butler's also been in with the likes of Paul Samuels, Darren McDermott, Brett Flourney and Bradley Pryce.

In his most recent outing, Butler was once again on the road, this time travelling to Newport to stop the then unbeaten Welshman Frankie Borg with a highlight-reel knockout in the 8th.

"In my last fight I boxed on the back foot a bit and it paid off. I have learnt so much in the past year with my new trainer Andy O'Kane. It's always great to finish the fight inside the distance."

Skip to 30:00 to see Butler's impressive stoppage of Frankie Borg last July

Meanwhile Thomas Costello, a year younger at 24, is unbeaten in 13 professional fights, with 5 wins inside the distance and the only blotch on his record being a 6 round draw with Lee Noble 3 years ago. Although his opponents so far have mostly been journeymen, and his upcoming fight with Butler represents a significant step-up in class.

The domestic middleweight scene is buzzing right now with Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker and Martin Murray heading the pack as world title challengers. And like many fans, Butler is keen to see them meet in the ring sooner rather than later.

"It's a hard one to call, but it would be great if they did fight each other. I would like it to happen within the next year or so."

There's also a long list of exciting prospects at 160 lbs in Britain and Ireland at the moment with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr, John Ryder, and Adam Etches currently boasting unbeaten records as they progress through the rankings.

Butler is unconcerned with the rest of his division however, preferring to concentrate on his own career for the time being.

"No one else has really crossed my mind at the moment as I'm focusing on the task in front of me. I'm just taking one fight at a time."

Speaking of his next fight against Costello, Butler concedes, "he's a very good boxer and I'm sure it's going to be a great fight. Currently I'm feeling as hungry as I did the first time I ever stepped in the ring. No one's seen the best of me yet!"

Costello vs Butler headlines a packed card in the Midlands on Saturday 9th March, which celebrates 70 years of professional boxing at the Civic in Wolverhampton.

J Rowland reporting for

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English title fighters Danny Butler and Thomas Costello weighed in for their tussle on the 70th anniversary show at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Birmingham's Costello and Bristol's Butler battle for the belt, which has been vacated by Nick Blackwell, over 10 rounds at the Civic tomorrow night.

Undefeated Brummie Costello came in at 11st 6lb on the scales at Wednesbury Boxing Academy today, as he prepares for his first shot at a title.

Butler, a former English and British title challenger who came in when Tony Hill pulled out to step up a weight, tipped the scales at 11st 4lb 8oz.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Civic stages amateur and exhibition boxing bouts in front of the Mayor, Christine Mills, at a special exhibition.

The Civic first celebrates 70 years of staging pro boxing with a daytime show featuring stalls, memorabilia fairs and speeches from former fighters.

A total of 1,170 fighters have boxed at the Civic since their first bill on 8 March 1943 and all have been invited to receive minted and engraved medals.

At the same time, Wolverhampton Amateur Boxing Club fighters will be put their paces in the ring in the boxing ring, erected for the evening's pro show.

Doors open for the daytime exhibition at 1pm. Tickets will be available for the boxing bill on the door tomorrow night, from when the show starts at 6pm.

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Last night I went to the Wolverhampton civic hall for a local card, most of it was decent enough but the standard fare of local guys with chunks of supporters beating British journeymen or Eastern Europeans, most of whom are happy to give it enough of a go to not get knocked out.

The main event was a 10 rounder for the English middleweight title, Costello being the local guy but Butler had a vocal group of his own fans, it made for a great atmosphere even though a lot of the fans had unfortunately left after their mate had fought, what a fight they missed. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera so I'll try to give some details, if any hand held recordings show up on YouTube give it a watch.

They tore into each other from the opening bell, fighting almost nose to nose for the first 3 or 4 rounds. Each time one landed a flurry that looked like it hurt the other shrugged it off and came straight back with shots of his own. After the opening rounds Butler started buying himself a little breathing room by periodically moving back and circling while Costello pursued him, these breaks in the action never lasted long though and the toe to toe action continued.

In the 8th Butler finally landed a shot that did some lasting damage, Costello staggered and Butler was all over him. Costello got pinned on the ropes and all in all may have absorbed as much as a minute of non stop offence without giving much in return, and the ref was hanging in a couple of feet away ready to stop it with one more big clean shot. Amazingly Costello came back and not only fought Butler off but had him backing up when the bell sounded to end the round. Costello gave a fist pump to the crowd who were trying to cheer him to victory as the 9th started and he fought well but it was pretty obvious he was getting tired and the beating in the previous round had taken a lot out of him. They got a standing ovation for the start of the 10th round, which was fairly even until Butler shook Costello again and landed a couple more shots as he tried to recover when the ref stopped the fight. Costello wasn't happy, punting his mouthpiece out of the ring and pushing his trainer away, it may have been a little sudden to stop it considering what he took in the 8th and recovered from, but I've seen much worse stoppages. I'd love to see a rematch it'd make a great undercard addition to a major show.
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