By Tré Berry III🖊️
The knockouts continue to pile up for WBA(Regular) Middleweight Titlist 🥇🇯🇵Ryota Murata (16-2-0, 13KO👊), who methodically broke down his opponent, that being #8 ranked WBA challenger 🇨🇦Steven Butler (28-2-1, 24KO👊) and putting him away in the 5th round earlier to the delight of his hometown fans at 🏟️Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.
The headliner to the card shown on 💻ESPN+ this morning proved to be routine work for the popular 2012 Gold-Medalist, as he stuck to his guns and operated behind a measured pace to beat down what was ultimately an over-matched opponent in Butler. A more measured, subdued output from Murata was exhibited to start the contest. Butler tried to rip in some body shots in the opening stanza to initiate his game plan, one that never fully got off the ground. Murata caused some swelling over Butler’s left eye with a strong right hand over the top that had connected mid round in the opener. Butler had many difficulties getting around the big right hand (which is Murata’s bread & butter attack, as well as his best singular weapon), and he made good use of it in controlling Butler’s movement to set him up to bait him into the shot.
Murata throughout proved to also be physically the stronger man, and used that to dictate terms in the ring. In the third round, Ryota started ripping the uppercut and landed a good right uppercut that Butler ducked down into. At the end of the round, Murata fired off 3 right crosses in a row, landing them all, adversely affecting Butler. The 3rd round inexplicably ended 5 seconds early as Murata went all in trying to finish the job as he was aware that Butler was a sitting, vulnerable target at this time. The end was near in the 5th after Murata landed a couple of sledge hammer rights that he put his whole body weight behind, and with Butler at this stage now being a drunk target ripe for the taking, Murata jumped in to ice Butler with a big left hook to send him to the canvas. The way he spiraled downward made 🗣️Referee Rafael Ramos jump in immediately to stop it with 15 seconds left to go in the 5th round.
This was Murata’s first defense of his secondary WBA Title after winning it back against 🇺🇸Rob Brant in emphatic fashion, and overall this victory today counts as his 4th win in some form of Title fight. The Gold-Medalist keeps the ball rolling as he hopes to lure in some of the elite Middleweights for a lucrative contest, fighters like the real WBA (also RING/LINEAL) Champion ♛🇲🇽Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, or with Middleweight legend and current IBF Champion 🥈🇰🇿Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, with the hook of the situation to get either one on the plane to travel to Japan, where Murata’s market is heavy, as both Canelo and GGG are global attractions. Bringing them to 🗾Japan to face their most popular fighter it would appear is an opportunity that can’t be turned down if the demand is there to make the fight. At the end of the day, there is money to be made.