YOKOHAMA — Ryota Murata defended his newly-regained WBA “World” middleweight title by overpowering Steve Butler for a fifth-round TKO victory.
Butler (28-2-1) attempted to focus on the body but Murata countered with a steady stream of hard counter right hands. The punching power favored Murata, allowing the champion to methodically break down Butler with headshots.
By the fifth, Murata had little concern for Butler’s offense. After a series of answered right hands, Murata dropped his cornered foe with a short left for the merciful stoppage.
The win improves Murata’s record to 16-2, 13 KOs. The champion’s 2020 may include a trilogy fight with Rob Brant or undefeated Olympic rival Esquiva Falcao.