FORMER world champion Paul Butler plans to return to former glories next year. With Jamie McDonnell announcing a move up out of the bantamweight division, Butler’s team are looking at Liborio Solis in 2018 before challenging WBA and IBF world champion Ryan Burnett.

“He made the weight and now he’s moved up,” Butler’s trainer Joe Gallagher said of McDonnell, “and he’s going to a division really where I can’t see where the big money fights are for him in the super-bantamweight division. So I just thought he could have stuck around for one more for Paul Butler, which is a huge domestic fight.”

Gallagher revealed their aims, adding, “But I think now the plan is we want to get Paul Butler versus Solis, we’d love to get it early next year, February time, beginning of March, Paul Butler versus Solis, just to show we beat the man who drew with the man type of thing. Jamie McDonnell’s a huge scalp in that division with his wins over [Tomoki] Kameda and everything else. I know Ryan Burnett is the champion but McDonnell was still the bigger name through his exploits overseas if that makes sense. So it would be a big scalp to have.

Paul Butler

“So the plan is to get Solis February, March time and then we’re ready to go and fight Ryan Burnett. We’ll have that in the summer time, Belfast, wherever they want to put it. That’s a fight that would be good to have. We need that type of fight. So I think Solis is great preparation for Ryan Burnett. And Ryan Burnett can deal with [Zolani] Tete in the meantime!”