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Matt Windle: ‘It’s Top Dog vs the Underdog…But these are the fights I love’

It’s Connor Butler versus Matt Windle for two major titles on Friday June 9th, with all the action shown LIVE AND FREE on Fightzone, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport app and website.

The pair go head-to-head at the Liverpool Olympia for two major prizes … with Butler’s Commonwealth Flyweight belt on the line, and the vacant European Title also being taken home by the winner.

Scouser Butler will be on local turf at the Olympia but Windle – from Birmingham – is used to fighting, and winning, away-from-home.

Connor, 25, has lived up to his ‘Top Dog’ moniker since turning over in 2018 with a single technical-draw the only blemish on his 11-fight ledger.

Windle’s record may look inferior on paper, with four losses from 12 outings, but at least two of those defeats have been contentious. The ‘MatMan’ is also in the form of his life after stopping South Africa’s Siphelele Myeza in 11 rounds in October last year to claim the Commonwealth Light Flyweight belt.

All in all, Butler versus Windle, with two major titles on the line means Fightzone and BBC Sport viewers, and those fans lucky enough to be in attendance on the night, are guaranteed some brilliant fight action…

Ahead of the biggest night of his career, Matt – who is a professional poet in his day job – breaks down the contest:

What kind of test is Connor?

I watched his last fight with Craig Derbyshire when he won the Commonwealth Title, but I wasn’t watching it as a scouting mission because I had no idea I might be fighting the winner. My focus has been on the light flyweight division. But I know Connor is a good boxer and was a very talented amateur.

He enjoys a bit of a scrap; his corner probably try to get him to stick to the boxing and be boring, but you can’t have a name like ‘Top Dog’ and try and win boring – you’ve got to provide a bit of excitement!

Tommy Frank has probably been my most difficult fight … do I see him [Connor] being above that level? No, I don’t. Could I be wrong? Absolutely! But I do believe I’m his toughest test, on paper.

He’s quite a strong flyweight, I’m moving up in weight. I’ll be in his backyard, it’s his title – so it’s very much the ‘Top Dog’ versus the underdog! But these are the sort of fights that are good for boxing. Many people turn these fights down and err on the side of caution, but I’ve already demonstrated in my career that I say ‘yes’ to hard fights.

Your best success has been at light flyweight – does this weight [flyweight] suit Connor better?

Absolutely. Flyweight is the only weight he’s competed at, and he’s the Commonwealth champion. There’s not really anything in my favour, heading into the contest when you look at location, weight and even experience because we’ve both had a similar number of fights.

It’s all in his favour, but this is what gets my juices flowing! I’m quite happy to have things against me, and get the upset.

How important was fighting for the vacant European Title as an incentive to take the fight?

One hundred per cent. I’m very much focused on light flyweight but Britain and Europe don’t recognise that weight division so if I ever wanted the chance of being British or European champion then I have to take these fights, which is also why I took the fight against Tommy Frank [for the British Title].

I’m getting to fight for the European Title, which means – in my career – I’ll have fought for British, Commonwealth and European belts. That’s something that most boxers never get to experience. By becoming a two-weight Commonwealth champion, and a European champion – that will take my career to a whole new level – maybe a future world title.

You’ve mentioned that Connor likes to have a fight – you’re always in exciting contests … it should be a great one to watch?

There should be lots of smiles on faces when it comes to the supporters and viewers, I think it’ll be a really exciting fight.

Every fight I’m involved in seems to be an exciting one. This’ll be another barnstormer. We’ll wait and see what Connor tries to do, whether he tries to box my head off or punch it off!