Murata, Shiro and Mthalane headline in Japan December 23!
On October 16 in Japan, Teiken Promotions held a press conference to announce boxing triple-header that will take place on December 23 in Yokohama, Japan.
Headlining the card will be Ryota Murata (15-2, 12KO) defending the WBA World “Regular” Middleweight title against Canadian Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24KO).
As part of this triple-header WBC world Jr. Flyweight Champion Ken Shiro (16-0, 9KO) squares off against IBF title-holder Felix Alvarado (35-3, 30KO).
Lastly Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25KO) will attempt to make the third defense of the IBF Flyweight title as he faces former three-time, three-division champion Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16KO).
This card will be aired locally on Fuji-TV and is their annual end of the year Japan boxing showcase.
Murata vs. Butler
For Murata, this will be the first defense of his second reign. Coming off of a spectacular July 12 rematch win over Rob Brant to reclaim the belt, the defending champion is highly motivated and is looking at a win over Butler as not springboard to what he hopes are even bigger opportunities.
The 33-year old told the Japanese media:
“l’ll do my best! I got a very good reputation, but I’m not satisfied. I’m still looking forward to my dream as I want to do more as a boxer.
“Butler was also the first-placed challenger in WBO, and I think it will improve my reputation by beating him. It will be a good match. I have an interesting fight.”
The 24-year old Butler, views this fight as an opportunity of a lifetime.
“This may be a dream match for me, but I ’m not just a dreamer, I’ll try to make that dream come true.”
Shiro vs. Alvarado
Japan boxing insiders throughout the year have been swirling that Shiro would face WBA champion Hiroto Kyoguch at the end of this year.
As it turns the 27-year old may be facing a more dangerous opponent in the hard-punching Alvarado.
For Shiro, he is excited at the opportunity of unification, but feels he has more than enough to deal with what his opponent brings to the table.
“I can finally aim for a different belt. I hope I can show a new Ken Shiro. I want the other belts, so I think it will be an important game as the first step of my dream of unification.
Alvarado is a puncher, but if I can keep my range, I think there is no problem at all, so I just believe in myself”
Following a 2013 loss to Kazuto Ioka and a 2014 loss to Juan Carlos Revco in consecutive bouts, the 30-year old Alvarado (35-2, 30 KO’s) has been on a roll winning his last seventeen bouts, fifteen of those wins coming by stoppage.
In a loaded 108-pound division Alvarado may be the most explosive fighter in the division while Shiro may be the division’s most skilled fighter. This fight could very well be the best fight of the night!
Mthalane vs. Yaegashi
Moruti Mthalane is the definition of a boxing road warrior as he once again fights on an opponent’s home turf this time against the hard as nails Yaegashi.
This is a fight between two grizzled, vets who know what it takes to get the job done and have seen it all in the ring. Both fighters are at advanced stages of their careers, but can still fight.
Currently on an 11-year, 18-bout unbeaten streak, Mthalane is one of the best fighters around that even hardcore boxing heads know little about. In short the IBF champion is our modern-day Azumah Nelson!
This may well be his last shot to win a world title for Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16 KO’s). A former Strawweight, Jr. Flyweight and Flyweight champion, the 36-year old was previously seeking an opportunity to become a four-division world champion in the Super-Flyweight division.
However ,the old-adage in boxing is you never turn down a world-title shot. So with the chance to become a world champ for the fourth time Yaegashi jumped at the chance.
This will be a hell of a triple header with a couple of bouts looking to be possible fight of the year candidates by the time the night of December 23 is over!
By: Michael Wilson Jr