Bellator 148’s Raphael Butler Recalls Near-Miss Matchup with Tyson Fury

By Tristen Critchfield Jan 26, 2016

Before he upset Wladimir Klitschko late last year, heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury was apparently in discussion with Bellator MMA President Scott Coker to take a fight with the California-based promotion.

While that notion seems far-fetched now, as Fury is likely to take a rematch with Klitschko at some point in 2016, there is one heavyweight on the Bellator roster who believes he has some unfinished business with the outspoken Brit.

“I would love to fight Tyson Fury. It would be a long time coming because when I was boxing, the name Tyson Fury came up to me as a possible fight,” Raphael Butler told “I was ready to sign the contract and his people pulled out of the contract like a month before we were supposed to fight. I would love to get that redemption.”

Butler, who faces Tony Johnson on the Bellator 148 main card at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., on Friday night, compiled a 35-12 mark on the professional boxing circuit before turning his attention to MMA full-time. “The Silencer” hasn’t abandoned his roots entirely, however, as he served as a sparring partner for Deontay Wilder during the American champion’s last two camps.

In the past, Butler has also crossed paths with Klitschko, and he chalks up the longtime title holder’s loss to an off night. Butler wasn’t especially impressed with Fury, who outpointed the Ukrainian in a bout that left plenty to be desired in terms of action.

“I was more disappointed because I’ve worked with Wladimir Klitschko, and the way he fought that fight was very confusing to me,” Butler said. “I’ve never seen him fight like that. People were saying that it is because he was the smaller man, but I don’t think it was that. I don’t want to make excuses for anybody as far as the fight game goes, but Wladimir has a lot of personal stuff going on right now, and I would think that would have something to [do] with how he fought that fight.

“I’m a Klitschko fan, and he looked horrible that fight. That fight wasn’t more of what Tyson Fury did, it was more of what Vladimir Klitschko didn’t do.”

Fury has enjoyed taking shots at MMA in recent years, saying that the sport was for “people who couldn’t box” while boasting that he would defeat then UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. While Butler isn’t likely to be on Fury’s radar if the boxing champion ever did give MMA a shot, he believes Fury would struggle with the transition.

“His fighting style is way too defensive to be in MMA, I think. But if he wants to come along, bring it on, brother,” Butler said. “I will have no problems being his first fight. It would probably be his last.”


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