Brave Briton Paul Butler lasted 11 rounds before pound-for-pound superstar Naoya Inoue broke him to become the undisputed bantamweight king.
The 34-year-old Cheshire man took his WBO title to Tokyo to take on Japan’s WBC, WBA and IBF boss nicknamed “the monster”.
And he absorbed a hard punch on foreign soil before the three-weight champion broke him down in the penultimate stanza.
Inoue – who began his sensational career at Super-Fly – is now targeting super bantamweight and says: “Thanks to Butler for coming to Japan I could not have done this without him and I commend him.
“I expected a longer fight and was able to show you more, so I’m happy.
“I’m happy boxing longer than usual today.
“I finally became the undisputed bantamweight champion, thank you.
“It’s been a long journey for me, but this is the final chapter in bantamweight and I’ve made it.
“Now I’m considering changing departments.”
Butler was a 100-1 underdog going into the fight and was predicted by many to be stopped in the early rounds.
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But he and Manchester manager Joe Gallagher had a game plan to avoid taking early risks and leading Inoue into unfamiliar later rounds.
Butler’s guard was high and tight enough to absorb most of Inoue’s punches.
And even the Japanese icon’s slashing body shots didn’t cause the Englishman too much crippling pain.
Inoue benched round after round, trying to get Butler to launch an attack of his own and leave himself open to the counterattack.
But Butler was disciplined and refused to fall into any of the monster’s traps.
It wasn’t until the 11th round that a buildup of pain and exhaustion caught up with Inoue landing a brutal right to the body.
Butler tried to catch his breath on the ropes, but Inoue rushed in and fired off a barrage of shots that forced Butler to the ground and he failed to beat the count.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6904807/naoya-inoue-smashes-paul-butler-ko-bantamweight/ Naoya Inoue KO’s brave Brit Paul Butler in the 11th round as the Japanese P4P superstar clinches his bantamweight titles