Ryota Murata’s next middleweight title defense will have him fight in Las Vegas.
Murata, the WBA “regular” middleweight champion, will defend his title against mandatory challenger Rob Brant on an ESPN+ card in Las Vegas. The fight will take place at the MGM Resorts’ Park Theater on October 20.
Brant, a 27-year-old fighter who has held the WBA-NABA middleweight title in the past, made a brief jump to super middleweight last year when he participated in the World Boxing Super Series. Brant was eliminated in the first-round of the tournament when he lost a unanimous decision to former world champion Juergen Braehmer. Since then, Brant has fought once, a first-round knockout win over Colby Courter back in March.
Even though this is Murata’s second world title defense, he already is the most accomplished Japanese middleweight in history in regards to fighting at a world championship level. In his last fight, an eighth-round stoppage win over European champion Emanuele Blandamura, Murata became the first Japanese boxer to successfully defend a middleweight world title. The 32-year-old previously won an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and captured the world title last year with a dominant win over Hassan N'Dam in a rematch that saw N'Dam win the title via a highly controversial split decision.
Murata isn’t the only WBA middleweight champion as Gennady Golovkin currently holds the WBA’s “super” version of the 160-pound world title. Though the WBA has stated it wants to reduce the number of world titles per weight class, a fight between Golovkin and Murata was never possible in the past year and seems unlikely to happen in the coming months as well.