Though Matchroom Boxing planned to follow the WBO’s orders and pit middleweight champ Demetrius Andrade against mandatory challenger Steven Butler in December, “Bang Bang” is instead looking to face WBA “regular” champion Ryota Murata in Japan, having taken a “more lucrative offer.”
There’s no specific date yet, but it’s safe to assume that this will be part of one of the country’s jam-packed New Year’s Eve shows. If so, it’ll be Murata’s (15-2, 12 KO) first time appearing in one since 2016.
I don’t think Butler’s (28-1-1, 24 KO) odds of victories changed with the opponent switch. Murata’s easier to hit than Andrade, making the one-punch upset more feasible, but the Canadian slugger has shown durability issues in the past that the seek-and-destroy Murata could exploit in dramatic fashion.
I’d wager this ends up more entertaining than the original idea, though.
The one potential wrench is Rob Brant, who’d intended to exercise a rematch clause after falling to Murata in their second meeting this past July. It’d definitely be wiser of him to take his time before jumping into a rubber match, though, so I’m more than fine with Butler getting a crack in the meantime.