In around a week's time Rob Brant (25-1, 17) will return to the ring to make his second defense of the WBA "regular" Middleweight title, as he takes on Ryota Murata (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太], the man he beat for the belt, in Osaka. Today, ahead of that bout, Brant took part in a public work out and seemed incredibly confident, calm and self assured.
Brant, who has been in Japan for quite a while already, stated he was in the best condition of his career and seemed to be fully acclimatised with the Japanese conditions, including the humidity. Being in Japan for around 2 weeks was clear a major part of his preparation for the bout, though not the only thing and he has been working hard on strengthening his stamina prior to leaving the US. It seems obvious, given how effective the game plan was last year, that he will focus on using volume to handcuff Murata and moving smartly to stop the Japanese puncher from having too many moments. In fact it sounds like the bigger plan is to be even busier than he was in his title win.
Brant's trainer seemed incredible relaxed, yet confident, and explained that Brant would be able to fight tomorrow if needed, and it's obvious he is in incredible condition.
As for the actual work out Brant work the mitts with his trainer and showed off something we didn't really expect. During his work out he was switching from orthodox to southpaw, and amazingly he looked solid as a southpaw, showing there was more strings to his bow than he has really had to show through his career so far.
One final take away from his work out is that he is just 3lbs over the Middleweight limit and will have no issue at all in making weight next week.
Later this month we'll see Japanese star Ryota Murata (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] look to avenge his 2018 loss to Rob Brant (25-1, 17), and attempt to become a 2-time WBA "regular" Middleweight champion.
Yesterday Murata took part in a public work out at the Teiken Gym in Tokyo, as he continued to prepare for the must win bout.
Prior to the public work out there was an interview with the media and Murata's team. That interview saw Tsuyoshi Hamada, a former world champion who now serves as one of the key figures of the Teiken gym, explain that there has been a lot of technical work with Murata in sparring, to help him prepare for Brant. The fighter himself added that he intends to press more, using his legs more and go up and down.He seemed like a man who was both determined to avenge his loss, and somewhat embarrassed by his losing performance, in what was an incredibly disappointing outing.
To prepare for the bout Murata has gone through around 130 rounds of sparring working hard on correcting his technical issue, that was shown in the work out which had him sparring 2 rounds with unbeaten American Isaiah Steen (12-0-0-1, 10).
The sparring with Steen saw Murata show a higher tempo than usual. He was still not the sharpest defensively but there was a nice jab, even to the body, and when he got caught by Steen's jab he pressed, rather than followed, and used his physical strength to back Steen up. He'll need to show that change in tempo to have any chance against the busy and talented Brant
As well as the sparring with Steen Murata went on to work the mitts and the worked with Carlos Linares, with the stick mitts as he looked to show a looser more natural style of movement, rather than the almost robotic style he employed against Brant last year.
Later this month we'll see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] will defend his title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22) in Osaka.
Today, ahead of that bout, we had two different stories about the contest.
Firstly it's been confirmed that the bout will be aired on ESPN+ in the US, giving American fans a chance to see one of Japan's top young fighters in action against a hard hitting Filipino.
Secondly was the fact that Kenshiro actually took part in a public work out for the Japanese press, showing the shape he was in and speaking to the press in detail about his preparation.
The fighter's father, Hisashi Teraji, stated that whilst this will be his son's 6th defense the next big goal is defense #10 and he's wanting to chace tough opponents for his son. Kenshiro agreed with the thinking, telling the press that he wanted to prove his ability and build his profile, something that having this bout shown live in both Japanese and the US will help with. He added that he had become better since winning the title but was also aware of Taconing's ability, and didn't appear to be over-looking the challenger.
Kenshiro has been preparing for this bout with a lot of sparring, and revealed that he has sparred more than 120 rounds for this bout, including rounds with former world title challenger Pedro Taduran (13-2, 10), to try and prepare for the southpaw stance of Taconing.
Notably after talking to the press Kenshiro took part in a 2 round spar with teenage prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡銀次朗], who battles Clyde Azarcon (15-2-1, 5) on July 27th for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. The first round of that spar was competitive, though in round 2 Kenshiro did turn on the jets a bit and showed why he is a world champion. The sparring did however see both men taking positives, and it's clear that Shigeoka is soaking up what he can from Kenshiro ahead of his big bout at the end of the month.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This coming Wednesday we'll see a triple header in Chiba, with one of those bouts being a bout for the WBO female Super Flyweight title, with Miyo Yoshida (12-1) [吉田 実代] taking on Casey Morton (8-1-3, 1).
Today, ahead of that bout, Morton took part in a public work out.
Morton, who's father is Japanese and mother is a Filipino, stated she was proud to be fighting in a Japanese ring, with the bout being her first bout on Japanese soil.
Morton, who hasn't yet been joined by her team in Japan, stated she has been training hard for the bout and prepared well.
Due to a lack of her training team Morton didn't really have much of a work out, doing just a single round of shadow boxing, giving absolutely nothing away. Yoshida's trainer, who there watching, admitted that he couldn't take anything from the work out, but did admit that he though Morton was a fighter with solid form and didn't expect any issues with her making weight.
Related-Yoshida and Morton battle for vacant WBO world title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Saturday Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) [井岡一翔] took part in a public work out and today his upcoming opponent, Filipino Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21) did the same, as the two men looked to impress the media ahead of their battle for the WBO Super Flyweight title.
Ioka's was, admittedly, an underwhelming work out with his comments about the bout being his last stealing the headlines. Thankfully today Paclite's work out was more like a typical media work out, hitting the mitts hard with his trainer.
The heavy handed Filipino, who looked in excellent condition, stated he was looking forward to the bout, and seemed very calm and confident. He spoke quietly but made it clear he wasn't there to lose, explaining he was going to win, whether it was by KO or not, and was going to use his physical advantages, including a significant height advantage. Despite being very tall for a Super Flyweight he isn't far of the limit already, telling the press there is no problem making weight and reports are that he was 116lbs at today's work out, just 1lb over the division's limit.
As for the work out the fighter was hitting the mitts, with trainer Rodel Mayol, and showed power in is jab, his uppercuts and and really crisp 1-2's. He looked sharp and powerful, but very relaxed, and like a man who had travelled with full belief that he was going to become the next WBO Super Flyweight champion.
Related - Ioka and Palicte vie for vacant WBO crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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