By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda (to come soon)
WBA middleweight champ Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs), Japan, retained his belt as he kept stalking Canada’s Steven Butler (28-2-1, 24 KOs), 160, and finally caught up with him, dropping him to score a fine TKO victory a 2:45 of the fifth round on Monday in Yokohama, Japan.
Butler fought well, making good use of his hand speed and footwork. But Murata patiently went forward with his solid left-right combinations and accelerated his attack from the third onward. The fatal fifth saw Murata explode a vicious attack and sink him with a left hook followed by an effective combination. The referee Rafael Ramos (US) made a well-timed stoppage and save Butler from further punishment.