One of the most top-heavy boxing shows of 2019 has been announced with three world title fights that includes a title unification.
Teiken Promotions announced a tripleheader of fights taking place December 23 in Kanagawa, Japan. The first title bout set for the show is WBA "Regular" middleweight champion Ryota Murata defending his title against Steven Butler. Though no U.S. broadcast details were announced, it is expected that ESPN and Top Rank will play a role in broadcasting Murata's fight against Butler.
This will be Murata's first title defense since beating Rob Brant earlier this year in a rematch of their October 2018 fight in Las Vegas. According to ESPN, Murata and Brant appeared headed for a trilogy fight, but the two were able to negotiate a step-aside deal that would allow Murata to fight Butler and Brant to fight the winner afterwards. Murata is a two-time WBA "Regular" titleholder who also holds a win over Hassan N'Dam.
Butler is the mandatory challenger to Demetrius Andrade's WBO middleweight title and the governing body even ordered a fight between the two, but that is no longer the case. Butler is on a 10-fight win streak with nine of those wins coming inside the distance ever since he was stopped by Brandon Cook back in 2017.
The lone world title unification announced takes place at 108 pounds with WBC champion Ken Shiro taking on IBF champion Felix Alvarado. Shiro, an unbeaten 27-year-old who has held the WBC title since 2017, will be making his second title defense this year with the first being a fourth-round TKO victory over Jonathan Taconing in July. Alvarado won the then-vacant IBF belt last year with a stopped win over Randy Petalcorin. In his lone title defense in May, Alvarado won a 12-round decision against Reiya Konishi.
The last title fight announced will have IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane defend his title against three-division world champion Akira Yaegashi. Mthalane will be making the third defense of the title that he won all the way back in July 2018 when he defeated Muhammad Waseem. Yaegashi has won four straight ever since he suffered a first-round stoppage loss to Milan Melindo in 2017.