Top Rank heads to Yokohoma, Japan for a championship triple-header featuring WBA middleweight championship Ryota Murata vs. Steven Butler as the main event and former four division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in the opening bout. The fights will be lived streamed online on ESPN+.
The two other championship bouts are IBF flyweight championship Moruti Mhtalane vs. Akira Yaegashi and WBC light flyweight championship Kenshiro Teraji vs. Randy Petalcorin.
Ryota Murata (15-2, 12 KOs) won Olympic gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, he went on to sign with Top Rank promotions and won the WBA “Regular” middleweight title in October of 2017 when he stopped Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in a rematch.
Murata would eventually lose the title in an upset to American challenger Robert Brant in 2018. The following year he stopped Brant in a rematch and reclaimed his WBA title.
Tonight Murata will be in with another tough opponent in Canadian slugger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24 KOs) and will aim for another impressive performance in front of the hometown fans.
Butler will have a chance to pull off an upset and bring home the belt to Canada. Butler has the power to hurt Murata so the Japanese champion will be extra cautious of exchanging blows with the ambitious Canadian challenger.
South African Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25 KOs) holds the IBF flyweight title and the champion at 37 is still at the top of his game.
Tonight Mthalane will take on former three weight champion Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16 KOs) who is looking to dethrone him to become a four-division champion.
Ken Shiro (16-0, 9 KOs) has held the WBC light flyweight title since 2017 when he dethroned Ganigan Lopez. Tonight he is looking to make his seventh defense agaisnt hard punching Filipino southpaw Randy Petalcorin.
Top Rank Special Monday Japan Fight Card
WBA “Regular” Middleweight Championship
Ryota Murata vs. Steven Butler
IBF Flyweight Championship
Moruti Mthalane vs. Akira Yaegashi
WBC Light Flyweight Championship
Kenshiro Teraji vs. Randy Petalcorin
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs. Diomel Diocos
Monday, December 23, 2019 at 3:55 AM ET/12:55 AM PT, Live Stream on ESPN+.