According to a report in the usually reliable Nikkan Sports WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] is eyeing a potential late May defense, at home in Japan, though other reports contradict this suggesting an early June date or even August date is more likely.
The article, published earlier this week, wasn't focused so much on the potential match up for Murata but rather his new boxing shoes, designed by Nike. In fact the shows in question were the Nike HyperKO2 shoes, with Murata himself talking about the shoes, explaining "It feels like the heels are raised a little with the platform specifications (for long-distance running). I wonder if I can get used to it. I want to get used to it,"
Although no date is set Murata has been preparing to get a date for the last few weeks. Around a month ago he was sparring with fellow Teiken fighter Junpei Tsujimoto (7-2-3, 5) [辻本 純兵], with Murata explaining that was a light spar, rather than anything too series. At the end of March he also took part in a training camp away from the gym, training alongside Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] and Jorge Linares (47-5, 29), who both have big bouts lined up for the summer. That camp was focused on fitness and running, rather than boxing.
It's also been reported, by Sports Hochi, that 3 international sparring partners were expected to arrive in Japan later this month, to help Murata prepare for an upcoming defense.
The bout, whenever it ends up taking place, will be Murata's first since December 2019, when he beat Canadian challenger Steven Butler.
Interestingly both the Sports Hochi report that Murata is targeting a December super fight with Kazakh legend Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин], something that has been reported repeatedly through the first 4 months of 2021, and seems likely to be part of Fuji TV's year ending show in late December.
Last week the WBA announced that they had upgraded Japanese Middleweight Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] from their "Regular" champion to their "Super" champion. Less than a week on from that announcement Murata celebrated his 35th birthday, which occurred yesterday.
After blowing out his candles the fighter and his team at Teiken revealed their plan for the year, and there is big plans ahead for the popular Japanese fighter, and also spoke about the frustrating 2020.
Akihiko Honda revealed that the hope for 2020 had been to land a fight with Saul Canelo Alvarez in April 2020 and then Gennady Golovkin in December. Of course due to the pandemic and out of the ring issues neither of those bouts came to fruition, with the inability to host fans making the events completely unviable.
For 2021 the plan is to have Murata in the ring April or May this year, in Japan, with the plan being for him to take on a voluntary defense, though no names were announced. That bout would be his second defense of his current title reign.
If he gets through that the hope is to then face a big name in September, with Golovkin's name popping up as one of the potential opponents for that end of year bout.
Though it should be noted that those bouts are obviously dependent on the pandemic not derailing either bout, and would also likely require fans in the venue due to the size of the purse required to pay a fighter like Golovkin.
Murata also explained that becoming the WBA "super" champion does make a bout with Golovkin, the current IBF champion, much easier make and stated that he thought it was good that the WBA had helped them move towards the unification bout.
Although Murata has been out of the ring since December 2019 he has been staying in good shape, and revealed that he is now regularly sparring, with over 100 rounds, and he's going to be bringing in international sparring partners in in the coming weeks. He's revealed that he is now sparring around 6 rounds a day, 3 days a week, which is obviously helping him sharpen up ahead of this planned Spring fight.
(Image courtesy of Teiken)
Earlier today the WBA announced that Japanese Middleweight Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] had been upgraded from their "Regular" champion to their "Super" champion, following the announcement that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez had officially left the division.
Whilst this is big news in some ways, with Murata now holding the primary title with the WBA meaning that there is no question about him being the WBA's main champion, in reality it serves little purpose than to delay his mandatory obligations.
As a WBA "regular" champion he was supposed to defend the belt in a mandatory defense every 9 months, though of course 2020 was no normal year and mandatory obligations were paused for much of the year. As the "Super" champion however that 9 months gets extend to 19 months between defenses.
In reality the bigger difference isn't really felt by Murata but by us, the boxing fans, who will now have to remember that the WBA will be creating a new title in the near future, after likely upgrading Chris Eubank Jr to the Regular champion.
Given how the WBA likes to work it really could be a rather random fight to see a new "interim" champion being crowned later this year, and sadly that could take one of the more notable contenders out of the mix for the big fights as they get ahold of, and defend, the rather pointless interim title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier this week news broke that unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) [Жанибек Алимханулы] would be in action in "The Bubble" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, on October 9th. At the time we knew the when and the where, but not the who. As in who he would be facing.
Today we finally got some idea of who his opponent could be, though no names were explicitly stated. What we got were some interesting details that really help create a short list of potential opponents.
The team of the unbeaten Kazakh have stated that he will be up against a "top 15" opponent, who is "unbeaten" and a "southpaw".
Whilst they technically don't say what division, we'll assume it's a Middleweight, though obviously it could be a Light Middleweight moving up or a small Super Middleweight moving down. We'll also assume it's a bout that Top Rank can make relatively easily.
This actually gives us a lot more options than we first assumed. For example Carlos Gongora (18-0, 13), Mikalai Vesialou (11-0-1, 6), David Papot (24-0-1, 3), Danny Dignum (13-0, 7) and Esquiva Falcao (27-0, 19) are all world ranked, unbeaten southpaws, ranked by at least by one world title body in the top 15 at Middleweight.
Using that short list however the most logical of the bouts would be a bout with Esquiva Falcao, who is also a Top Rank fighter, looking for a statement win before father time passes him by. We suspect, though it's merely an educated guess, that he will be the focus for Alimkhanuly here.
Interestingly Falcao has been calling out big fights recently, just like Alimkhanuly, and the winner here could, potentially, land a date with WBA "regular" champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太], with the Japanese star also being a Top Rank fighter.
Earlier today the Japanese Boxing Federation announced that they would be doing a special competition this year due to the fact all other high school boxing events had been cancelled.
Current face to face competition isn't allowed due to the current "on going situation". As a result the Japan Boxing Federation has set up a shadow boxing challenge, asking high school student to submit videos of them shadow boxing.
The competition will run from August 1st to August 16th and will be judged by a who's who of top Japanese fighters. These include:
WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥]
WBA Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]
WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人]
WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
IBF "interim" champion Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) [内山 高志]
Former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真]
and former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東]
The judges will select a winner and the winners will be given an award on August 22nd.
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