Paul Butler’s bid to merely survive in opposition to three-division champion Naoya Inoue was met with violent opposition on Tuesday morning.
Inoue (21-3, 21 KOs), a three-division champion thought-about by some to be the pound-for-pound finest on the planet, closed out a one-sided efficiency in opposition to a very passive Butler through Eleventh-round TKO to develop into the primary four-belt undisputed champion in bantamweight historical past.
With the victory, Inoue unified his IBF, WBA and WBC titles at 118 kilos with the WBO belt that Butler (34-3, 15 KOs) claimed earlier this yr. But the struggle, which emanated from Ariake Arena in Tokyo, was largely a sparring match as Butler refused to interact behind his excessive guard, forcing Inoue to uncharacteristically taunt him in hopes of making a gap.
Inoue, a 29-year-old virtuoso from Japan who’s aptly nicknamed “The Monster,” switched stances at occasions and even mimicked Muhammad Ali’s well-known shuffle to attempt to decrease Butler’s excessive guard. He additionally focused the physique all through till a livid mixture alongside the ropes lastly dropped Butler in Round 11.
Referee Bence Kovacs waved off the struggle at 1:09 as Butler, a 34-year-old native of England, was unable to get to his toes.
“I lastly grew to become the undisputed bantamweight world champion,” Inoue stated by a translator. “It has been very difficult for me to return this far. On this date, Dec. 13, I made it so that is the best day [of my career].”
Inoue improved to 19-0 (17 KOs) in title fights after what is anticipated to be his last bout at bantamweight, the place he captured his first of 4 world titles in 2018. A transfer as much as 122 kilos for a doable problem at unified champion Stephen Fulton Jr. is anticipated for Inoue in 2023.
“I anticipated that this struggle can be longer than regular,” Inoue stated. “I used to be capable of present longer rounds that I boxed so I’m very comfortable and happy for boxing longer than regular immediately.”
Butler, in his first struggle outdoors of his native United Kingdom, was by no means within the struggle. He threw single punches at a time and regarded content material in making an attempt to outlive. Inoue did his finest to proceed to uncork arduous proper fingers in opposition to Butler’s excessive guard in hopes that the amassed injury would sluggish or weaken him.
Inoue additionally made a case together with his efficiency for inclusion in fighter of the yr voting after pairing his knockout of Butler with a devastating second-round TKO of future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire of their June rematch that noticed Inoue add the WBC title to his assortment.
The victory noticed Inoue develop into simply the ninth male fighter within the four-belt period to develop into an undisputed champion, becoming a member of contemporaries Canelo Alvarez, Jermell Charlo and Devin Haney as lively undisputed kings. He additionally grew to become the primary undisputed bantamweight champion of any type since Enrique Pinder held the WBA and WBC titles in 1973.
Butler had beforehand captured the interim WBO title through resolution over Jonas Sultan in April earlier than being upgraded to full titleholder standing two months later. The loss was his first since 2018 as he fell to 1-3 total in title fights.
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