Ryota Murata is now back on top with a dominant performance over Rob Brant in front of his home country fans.
An explosive start to the second round saw Murata drop Brant and later stop him to become the new WBA "Regular" middleweight champion. The fight, which took place in Osaka, Japan, was a rematch of their first fight back in October 2018 in Las Vegas.
Their first encounter saw Brant's high motor and seemingly-endless energy overwhelm Murata and pick up a wide unanimous decision win to win the title. The second match, however, had Murata start out strong and prevent Brant from being able to fully establish himself. Although Brant was able to throw dozens of punches in the first round, Murata was able to throw and land several combinations, some of which split Brant's guard.
In the second round, Murata started off strong, landing a right hand that landed on Brant's chin, which opened the floodgates for Murata to dominate the rest of the round. Murata landed a flurry of punches afterwards, trapping Brant in the corner. Murata connected with a right hand to the chin once more and a left body hook, followed by successive right hands to knock him down. After Brant got up, Murata continued to pepper him with several punches upstairs and the referee stopped the fight with less than 30 seconds in the second round.
Murata is now a two-time WBA "Regular" champion. He won the belt back in 2017 in a rematch against Hassan N'Dam and after retaining the belt against Emanuele Blandamura last year, Murata lost the title against Brant.
Although the 33-year-old Murata is a WBA champion, he holds the secondary version of the middleweight world title. Canelo Alvarez holds the WBA "Super" version of the middleweight title, which he won back in September 2018 when he defeated Gennadiy Golovkin.