Today we saw Murata and Ogawa head off to Okinawa to begin a special training camp, along with former 2-weight world champion Takahiro Ao (27-3-1-1, 12) [粟生 隆寛].
Ahead of the camp Murata spoke to the media and stated that the camp is to help prepare for his first defense, and it seems like the plan is for the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner to defend his title in April.
The comments didn't come with too much information about the actual contest, but that this camp was laying the foundations for that bout, following a busy end of 2017.
Murata, who turns 32 on January 12th, will be away for his birthday but aknowledged that he is getting old and at 32 he doesn't have time in his career to waste. Instead training needs to come first due to how little is left of his time as a boxer.
As for Ogawa he stated that he hasn't done a lot of gym work since winning the IBF title last December. He stated he was looking to fight 3 times this year, but would have to get in to top condition for a schedule like that.
Interestingly Murata has, today, been linked to a fight with 38 year old Italian Emanuele Felice Blandamura (27-2, 5). On paper it doesn't look like a great defense, given other Middleweight options, but it could be a straight forward first defense before Murata looks for bigger and better fights in the summer. Currently Italian media are reporting that this bout is in negotiations,and could be confirmed after Murata returns from this training camp, which ends on January 18th.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)