Ryota Murata vs Steven Butler Preview Dec. 23rd
WBA Middleweight Champion Ryota Murata of Japan will be defending his title against Steven Butler of Canada this Monday, December 23rd. The 12-round bout can be seen live in America on ESPN+. Murata regained the title when he stopped Rob Brant in the second round of their rematch in July after Brant won their first meeting by a wide unanimous decision in Las Vegas last October. Butler last fought in September when he stopped Paul Valenzuela Jr. in just 38 seconds.
Murata vs Butler Betting Odds
- Steven Butler +450
- Ryota Murata -714
Murata originally won the title from Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in October of 2017 by stopping him after the seventh round. N’Jikam had taken the vacant title in a bout against Murata just five months earlier by a controversial split decision. Murata’s first defence was an eighth-round stoppage of European Champion Emanuele Felice Blandamura in April of last year before losing it to Brant. The 33-year-old Murata is a skilled boxer who won a gold medal in the middleweight division at the 2012 Olympics in London, England.
He turned pro the next year and has boxed 106 rounds since then and enters the ring with a record of 15-2 with 12 Kos. Murata stands six-feet tall with a 72.5-inch reach. Other than meeting N’Dam and Brant twice each he hasn’t exactly fought the cream of the crop in the middleweight division either, but he’s had just 17 pro fights. He’s also beaten Akio Shibata, Carlos Nascimento, Jessie Nicklow, Gunnar Jackson and Bruno Sandoval. Murata possesses fine boxing skills and appears to have an excellent chin.
He also has better-than average power power with a current knockout ratio of 70.6 per cent but lacks hand and foot speed in the ring and paid for it the first time around against Brant. Murata possesses an aggressive style and likes to dig his heavy punches into his opponents’ body as much as he does the head. He has a crowd-pleasing way of boxing but he may want to sharpen up his defensive skills if possible as he isn’t the hardest guy to hit.
As for Butler, the native of Montreal is just 24 years old but has already built up an impressive record of 28-1-1 with 24 Kos. He turned pro back in 2013 and has boxed 118 rounds since his debut. He has better-than-average power with a current knockout ratio of 80 per cent but he was stopped in his lone pro loss at the hands of Brandon Cook in the seventh round in January of 2017. That bout saw Butler lose his NABA and IBF North American Super Welterweight Titles.
Butler’s lone draw was an eight-round majority affair with Jaime Herrera in June of 2015 in a shot at the vacant NABF Junior Super Welterweight Title. However, he did manage to win the vacant IBF Youth Super Welterweight Title in 2016 when he stopped Sladan Janjanin in the third round. He captured the vacant IBO International Super Welterweight Crown when he stopped Herrera in a rematch in the 10th round in March, 2018. Butler then added the vacant WBC International Middleweight Belt with a 10-round split decision over Vitali Kopylenko in May.
Butler stands six-feet tall with an unlisted reach so is the same height as Murata. He had a good amateur career with a record of 50-5 and won a Canadian amateur title in 2013. His lone fight outside of Canada was the win over Kopylenko and hew hasn’t fought many recognizable opponents up to now. His toughest battles have been against Cook and Carson Jones and he’s also beaten the likes of Jesus Gutierrez, Janks Trotter, Ferdinand Pilz, Teemu Tuominen and Silverio Ortiz.
Murata looked very slow-footed in the first fight with Brant as he took a lot of heavy shots, but proved he has a granite chin. He was better prepared for the rematch and decided to slug instead of box and it worked out well for him. Butler’s nine years younger than Murata and has plenty of power but not much in the way of pro experience against solid boxers. His chin is also questionable as Brandon Cook stopped him but he’s won 10 straight fights since then. Murata throws thudding, punishing punches and he’s also fighting in front of his home fans. Butler’s stepping up in class and I’m expecting Murata to keep his belt.
This is a big step up in class for Butler.
Play: Murata -714 @ BetOnline.ag
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