Naoya Inoue stopped Britain’s Paul Butler to become boxing’s first undisputed bantamweight champion in 50 years.
The unbeaten Japanese fighter, who improves his professional record to 24-0 (21 KOs), knocked Butler down in the 11th round of a one-sided contest in Tokyo, with the Englishman unable to beat the referee’s count.
Inoue gains undisputed status by adding Butler’s WBO belt to his WBA, WBC and IBF titles, with the 29-year-old after the fight stating his intention to move up to super-bantamweight in an attempt to become a four-division world champion.
Inoue also became Japan’s first fighter to become an undisputed champion in the sport’s three or four-belt era.
“This is the proudest moment of my career,” Inoue said in the ring after his win.
“I am honoured to become undisputed champion at bantamweight.”
“This is my last fight at this weight. I am excited to see what is in store (at 122 pounds).”
Butler, who became a world champion for the second time in his career in May when he was elevated from interim to full WBO champion status after former title holder John Riel Casimero was stripped of the belt, loses for the third time in 37 professional contests.
While Butler largely failed to trouble Inoue, it was the first time the champion had been taken beyond eight rounds since his epic 2019 victory over Nonito Donaire.
However, on the brink of forcing Inoue to go 12 rounds for just the third in his career, Butler folded to a vicious combination of punches and fell to the canvas with two minutes remaining in the 11th.
The 34-year-old Cheshire fighter shook his head as he attempted to rise from his knees, before lying flat on his back as the referee waived on the contest.
#Naoya #Inoue #stops #Paul #Butler #undisputed #bantamweight #champion #Boxing #News