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Middleweight Ryota Murata to make title defense on Dec. 23

Murata, the 2012 London Olympic middleweight gold medalist, reclaimed the championship on July 12, in a technical knockout of American Rob Brant, who had dethroned Murata last October by unanimous decision.

The 33-year-old Murata will face ninth-ranked contender Steven Butler of Canada at Yokohama Arena. The 24-year-old Butler will be taking his first shot at a world title.

“I want to take the first step toward realizing this dream I have,” Murata told a news conference. “I want to concentrate on this fight and defeat my opponent without fail.”

The bout will be part of a world title fight tripleheader. Kenshiro Teraji, who fights under the name Ken Shiro, will put his perfect record and his WBC light flyweight title on the line against IBF light flyweight champion Felix Alvarado of Nicaragua.

The 27-year-old Teraji is 16-0 as a pro with nine knockouts and will be making his seventh title defense. Alvarado, 30, is 35-2 (30 KOs).

On the same card, Akira Yaegashi is gunning for the IBF flyweight title. A former light flyweight world champion, the 36-year-old Yaegashi will take on 37-year-old Moruti Mthalane of South Africa. Yaegashi, the 14th-ranked contender, has a career record of 28-6 (16 KOs). Mthalane is 38-2 (25 KOs).