Murata, who returns to the ring on May 1st to fight the world ranked Douglas Damiao Ataide (13-1-1, 6), has effectively been told that his upcoming bout is a key one. An impressive win will keep him on track for a US debut later in the year and a potential world title bout towards the end of 2015. A less than impressive performance may see those plans being put on the backburner with more time put into his development.
Sadly for Murata opponents like Ataide, a fringe world ranked guy, is the best he can expect to get whilst fighting in Japan. It's therefore clear that to progress his career he will need to set off to the US for more than just his training camps. Of course if he was to win a world title there is a very good chance he could defend it in Japan, but there is little chance of drawing over a champion to fight him at home.
At the moment we've not heard which champion Murata would be aiming for though given that Ataide is ranked by the WBO it does seem like this is an opportunity to open a route to a WBO title shot. Alternatively the IBF title may be an easier route than trying to navigate the complicated mire of the WBA title, which of course features 3 title holders, or the WBC title, which is likely to be held by Gennady Golovkin by the end of the year.
Ryota Murata to face WBO #14 ranked fighter!