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Preview: Paul Butler, Tommy Coyle, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner

Sports Mole previews some of the high-profile fights that are taking place around the world this weekend.

Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed a number of significant fights, both domestically and abroad, kick-start the boxing action for 2015, and the matches keep on coming this weekend as several fighters attempt to elevate their status in the sport.

On Friday night, Paul Butler will try to become a two-weight world champion when facing IBF super-flyweight title holder Zolani Tete in Liverpool, before the following evening sees Tommy Coyle attempt to secure a high-profile showdown with Hull rival Luke Campbell with victory over Martin Gethin. Over in the United States, the newly-signed NBC television deal kicks off with Keith Thurman defending the WBA welterweight belt against Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner going up against the hard-hitting John Molina Jr.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at all four contests and attempts to predict who will prevail over the weekend.

1. Paul Butler vs. Zolani Tete

Despite stepping up in weight to win the IBF bantamweight title last summer, the last eight months have proven frustrating for Butler. After having little intention of remaining at the weight, he soon secured a shot at the IBF super-flyweight title for October but his ambitions were halted after an injury to opponent Zolani Tete, the man he faces on Friday. There's relief that the fight finally goes ahead, but Butler needs to rediscover the momentum that he generated last June.

As well as being motivated to win global honours for a second time, Butler also has the chance to become the first British man for over a century to drop down in weight to win a second world crown. He's likely to find himself in an awkward duel with an opponent who can punch as well as showing in the past that he can secure wins on away soil, with his previous two triumphs coming in Mexico and Japan.

Paul Butler answers questions from the press during a press conference at Aintree Racecourse on January 9, 2014© Getty Images

Butler is the favourite to prevail, but despite tensions almost boiling over at the pre-fight press conference, this is a match that Butler will need to think his way through, rather than look for an explosive conclusion. He needs to find a way of unsettling the champion and take him away from his own fight, which he usually does to great effect behind his southpaw stance, and if Butler can control proceedings, he is likely to come away with a points win by the end of the night.

2. Tommy Coyle vs. Martin Gethin

Ever since being given a chance by Matchroom Sport to fight for the vacant Commonwealth title against Derry Mathews in 2013, Coyle has shown that it's not possible for him to be involved in a boring fight and that has helped his reputation soar in his home city of Hull. Coyle admits that he's not the most talented fighter, but the desire shown against Mathews and Daniel Brizuela helped move him towards the top of the lightweight rankings in Great Britain, and that standing was only strengthened when he wiped out Michael Katsidis last October.

The win over the legendary Australian has put Coyle in line for a summer date with Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell, a fight that promoter Eddie Hearn intends to stage at Hull City's KC Stadium, but first, Coyle must successfully overcome the challenge offered by former British champion Martin Gethin, a man who not so long ago was one win away from a crack at the IBF title.

Gethin is possibly past his peak but he should still compete with Coyle, who not only requires a victory and a few rounds, but also needs to look good to hype up a potential encounter with Campbell. The opening few stanzas will be key and Coyle will need to stamp his authority on a match that could be made tricky, but if he is ahead by the middle rounds, he could finish the job between rounds eight and 10.

3. Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero

Since bursting onto the world scene in 2013, Thurman has been regarded as one of the best up-and-coming fighters in a stacked division that is considered the most lucrative in boxing, but the 25-year-old's power and boxing skills have resulted in the majority of the top names failing to be tempted into a encounter with the American unless the reward is worth the risk. However, now that Thurman has been promoted to WBA champion after initially holding the interim belt, now is the time for 'One Time' to go big time.

Thurman isn't officially seen as the main WBA champion because the 'Super' belt is held by Floyd Mayweather Jr, but with the pound-for-pound king involved with Manny Pacquiao, Thurman now has the bounty to attract elite fighters, and he has the chance to enhance his reputation against Guerrero on Saturday night. Guerrero has only fought once in almost two years since his loss to Mayweather but he is still the biggest test of Thurman's career.

Keith Thurman and Jesus Soto Karass during their WBA Interim Welterweight title bout at Alamodome on December 14, 2013© Getty Images

The champion is rightly regarded as the favourite but the challenger showed in his last fight with Yoshihiro Kamegai that he is prepared to go to war when required, and if Thurman can't get rid of his opponent in the first half of the contest, he is going to be called upon to show another side of his repertoire to maintain his unbeaten record. Although with a new television broadcaster in place, that type of win could do wonders for his career in the long term.

4. Adrien Broner vs. John Molina Jr

Since suffering the first defeat of his professional career, Broner has put together two victories over Carlos Molina and Emmanuel Taylor without suggesting to his critics that he is capable of claiming the status of pound-for-pound king that was once predicted of him in 2013. The controversial American, who is a three-weight world champion, has still lost just once in 30 outings, but the frustration surrounding the 25-year-old originates from his lack of professionalism and disrespect outside of the ring.

Despite being relatively young for someone in the fight game, Broner is at a stage of his career where he needs to focus on attempting to elevate himself among the best in the sport. He won't do that with a win over Molina Jr, but he needs to show that he can entertain a huge audience and the only way he will do that on Saturday night is by stopping a respectable opponent who has the firepower to hurt Broner should he be given an opening.

The choice of Molina Jr as Broner's next opponent has attracted criticism from some quarters, but the 32-year-old can punch, and Broner has shown in the past that he is susceptible when put under pressure. It's in that regard that he needs to grow as a competitor and Molina will give him the opportunity to show that he can box on the defensive. But Molina, despite being considered as a big underdog, is a live opponent and he has shown in the past that he can win by stoppage when behind on the scorecards.

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