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Ryota Murata stops Steven Butler in nine, Moruti Mthalane and Kenshiro Teraji retain titles, Roman Gonzalez returns

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata 16-2 (13) scored a fifth-round knockout of Steven Butler 28-2-1 (24) at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan on Monday night.

Butler, 24, was competitive but the 33-year-old Japanese piled up the pressure before landing a combination in the fifth that sunk the Canadian at the 2:45 mark. The scores at the time of the stoppage were 39-37, 40-36 and 39-37, all for Murata.

IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane 39-2 (26) stopped Akira Yaegashi 28-7 (16) in the ninth round of a competitive contest.

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Yaegashi started fast before the heavier blows from the 37-year-old South African began to take their toll in the seventh round. During the eighth Mthalane had the 36-yar-old Japanese in trouble, backing him onto the ropes and unleashing with both hands.

The onslaught continued in the ninth with referee Mario Gonzalez halting the contest at the 2:54 mark with Mthalane leading the fight 78-74, 77-76 and 76-76.

WBC junior flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji 17-0 (10) needed just four rounds to turn back the challenge of Filipino southpaw Randy Petalcorin 31-4-1 (23).

The 27-year-old Teraji scored effectively with body shots to drop Petalcorin three times during the third frame. Petalcorin, 27, made a desperate last stand in the fourth only to be sent to the deck again from a right hand to the midsection.

Referee Frank Garza waved off the fight at 1:08 with Teraji comfortably ahead at the time by scores of 29-26, 28-26 and 29-25.

Petalcorin was a late replacement for IBF boss Felix Alvarado 35-2 (30) of Nicaragua.

Teraji, who was making the seventh defence of his title, revealed his ambition to break the record of former WBA junior flyweight champion Yoko Gushiken.

“I’ll break Mr Yoko Gushiken’s thirteen consecutive defenses by extending my defenses one by one,” he said.

Formerly four-division world champ Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez 48-2 (40) battered Filipino Diomel Diocos 14-6-3 (4) to score a second-round stoppage at the 2:20 mark.

In his first fight in 15 months Gonzalez started cautiously before picking up the pace in the second and forcing a count on Diocos. The 32-year-old Nicaraguan swarmed his opponent until referee Yuji Fukuchi stepped in to halt the fight.

“I’ll regain the world belt in 2020 and dedicate it to Nicaragua and Japan,” Gonzalez said after the fight.

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