Butler bows to Murata in championship bout in Japan

Quebecer Steven Butler learned the hard way that willpower alone is not enough in championship bouts. The 24-year-old young boxer bowed by K.-O. fifth round technique against Japanese Ryota Murata on Monday in Yokohama, Japan.
Murata (16-2, 13 KOs), 33, thus retains her WBA middleweight belt.

Butler (28-2-1, 24 KOs) started the fight in force, concentrating on the body of his opponent. But Murata was patient and efficient in her responses, repeatedly hitting Butler in the head with her right.

Butler, eighth contender, spared no effort, but was simply dominated by the power of Murata. The veteran boxer finally dispatched his opponent to the mat with a combination he completed with a strong hook in his left hand at the end of the fifth round. Butler did not get up, and even if he did, he probably would not have been able to continue.

This fight allowed Butler, a protégé of Eye of The Tiger Management (EOTTM), to gain valuable experience, he who was only in his second confrontation outside Quebec. His only other loss was in January 2017, against Brandon Cook, and he then won 10 straight fights, including nine by K.-O.

Murata, whose first title defense since winning it last July, remains at the top of the 160-pound category and can contemplate fighting in 2020 against Rob Brant and Esquiva Falcao , if he stays with the Top Rank team.

Brant beat Murata in October 2018, creating a surprise, before giving him the belt in a rematch last July in Osaka. Brant had a clause in getting another rematch and said he would, but he is currently sidelined due to an injury.

Falcao is the Brazilian Murata faced in the final for the Olympic middleweight gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, where he lost 14-13. We are talking about a duel between the two among professionals. Falcao is due to return to the ring on February 1 in China.

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