Determined Murata stops Butler
WBA middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) wore down and stopped game Canadian Steven Butler (28-2-1, 24 KOs) at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan Monday night.
Butler, nicknamed “Bang-Bang” did some banging in the opening stanza. He jabbed to the body and head. Murata responded with a hard-right hand, but Butler landed more punches. Butler worked up and down in round two.
Murata, who regained his crown by stopping Rob Brand in a rematch, connected with a straight right to the chin. Butler landed a hook. And seconds later a right hand, but Murata stayed aggressive. The champion connected with a solid right at the bell.
Butler’s face was starting to swell.
In round three, Murata started to take over. Butler was fighting back, but his blows weren’t bothering the hometown hero. Murata’s right was cracking. Butler fired uppercuts. Murata hurt Butler with clean shots in the last 10 seconds of the round.
Murata continued to pressure Butler in round four. Butler, like a balloon with a slow leak, was showing signs of fading. His blows lacked fire. Murata landed a barrage of punches to the head of Butler.
Round five would prove to be the last heat for the gutsy Butler. He was fighting hard, but the guy he was facing was stronger, and better. Murata stalked forward. Butler punched back. A shot to the ear buckled Butler’s legs.
Murata chased Butler, trying to end the fight. Six punches in succession landed. A big left hook collapsed Butler in the corner. The referee took one look at the challenger and waved off the fight.
The time was 2:45 seconds into round five.