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Naoya Inoue outclasses Paul Butler before 11th-round knockout

Naoya Inoue became the first undisputed bantamweight champion in 50 years when he took the WBO title off Britain’s Paul Butler with a commanding performance in Tokyo.

Butler, 34, was given a lesson by the 29-year-old from Japan, who dominated throughout until he ended the contest with a with a right hand to the body followed by a solid left hook and a barrage of unanswered punches that floored Butler.

It was Inoue’s 21st career knockout and it guaranteed a slice of history, with no bantamweight having held all of the titles in the four-belt era. “This is the greatest moment [of my career],” Inoue said after the fight.

Inoue more than made good on his pre-fight boast to put on a show of high-quality technical boxing. Throughout the fight, he weaved and bobbed away from his opponent's punches and, like a bantamweight Muhammad Ali, mixed in one of the late heavyweight champ's shuffles.

Inoue is likely to move up the weight divisions now, having already won world titles at super-flyweight and light-flyweight. The Japanese boxer was competing in his 19th consecutive world title bout and remains unbeaten in 24 professional fights.


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