Ellesmere Port boxer Paul Butler has issued an apology after failing to make the weight for the biggest title fight of his career.

The Chester-born bantamweight failed to make the 118lbs limit at Friday’s weigh-in for his world IBF title bout against Puerto Rican fighter Emmanuel Rodriguez, surrendering any chance of winning the vacant belt.

Butler still took part in the fight, which was on the undercard to Tony Bellew’s defeat of David Haye at the O2 Arena, but was outclassed by the Central American who twice floored the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ within the opening round.

Butler got himself back into the fight but was comfortably beaten, the judges scoring it 118-108 and 120-106 (twice) which reflected a dominant display by Rodriguez.

Butler posted on Twitter: “First of all I know failing weight in my biggest fight to date looks unprofessional and I understand the stick I’m getting but believe me, I’m gutted and heartbroken I can’t win that world title.

“I didn’t fail it without trying and I’d never do that! I tried like you’d never believe. I will be staying at bantam weight. There’s a couple of reasons for failing weight.

“My apologies go to the Rodriguez team, the Matchroom Team, my fans and most of all my trainer and manager Joe Gallagher for all the hard work he’s put in. I hope you all still enjoy the fight and card.”