In a weeks time we'll see WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] defending his title against Canadian challenger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24).
Today, ahead of that bout, Butler attended a media work out, though it wasn't the most interesting of media work outs.
In fact it was a pretty secretive one with the fighter and team not revealing much at all ahead of the Murata clash.
Before the work out Butler gave some short comments to the Japanese press. He stated he had arrived in Japan a week ago, that he was well tuned and that he was 100% ready. He added that he had been training for Murata for around 10 weeks and that he respected the champion, before adding that he through their styles were similar.
When it came to the actual work out Butler only did around 20 minutes of exercise. That included hitting the mitts and the heavy bag, but no sparring, and nothing particularly intensive.
After the work out Tsuyoshi Hamada seemed too be somewhat disappointed with the lack of an actual work out by Butler. He explained that Teiken had prepared the gym for Butler to work out in but that they hadn't really used it. It meant they couldn't try to scout him today, but he did state that they had viewed plenty of footage of the challenger and seemed to be fully aware of what Butler brings to the ring.
Relate - Murata defends against big punching Canadian Butler
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In July we saw Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] become a 2-time WBA "regular" Middleweight champion, as he stopped Rob Brant (25-2, 17) to avenge his 2018 loss. Today Murata returned to the gym for the first time and began practising once again.
Prior to the training session, which was done for the press, Murata held a press conference alongside Teiken representative, and former world champion, Tsuyoshi Hamada.
At the press conference Murata stated that he wants his next fight to come against someone that the fans want to see, rather than another low key opponent. He added that he was in great condition for the Brant rematch, and entered full of confidence. It seems like that confidence was still with him, and Mr Hamada, today.
Hamada named dropped both Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin as the two opponents he thinks would be good opponents for Murata. These are both fighters that would interest both domestic fans and international fans, though it should be noted that Murata has long spoke about Golovkin in the Japanese press and nothing has come of it. Currently there would be major issues with US TV issue for either bout, with both Canelo and Golovkin being affiliated with DAZN in the US whilst Murata is a Top Rank fighter fighting on ESPN.
Not only did Hamada mention Canelo and Golovkin as possible oppoennts but Murata echoed the comments, stating that he wants to fight either of them, adding that he wants to make the sport more exciting. Sadly though with the plan being to fight later this year, it does seem like Murata will have a lower key fight before talks of a major fight can be taken serious.
After the press conference the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner took part in some training with Carlos Linares. The training saw him have 2 rounds of shadow boxing, before working the mitts with Linares and looking powerful and sharp. It was clear he wasn't going all out, but looked good for a man who has been on holiday recently, and hasn't actively trained since the Brant rematch.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This coming Sunday we'll see WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (14-0, 14) [比嘉 大吾] battle against former WBO Minimumweight champion Moises Fuentes (25-4-1, 14) in what will be a major bout for Okinawa.
Today, ahead of that bout, Fuentes took part in a public work out, and looked in fantastic shape, and very much the opposite of how he looked last time he was in Japan, suffering a 1-sided beat down to Kosei Tanaka. Fuentes seemed confident, showed sharp movement and looked fantastic whilst doing a round of shadow boxing, and spending time working the mitts and hitting the speed ball.
The work out of Fuentes was watched by both Tsuyoshi Hamada and Yoko Gushiken, who both seemed impressed by Fuentes, with both backing Higa to come out on top, though made it clear he was going to have to be wary of Fuentes's experience, size and ability.
Whilst Fuentes did look dire against Tanaka it does seem like the move to Flyweight has allowed his body to fill out properly and he did look a lot better in himself than he did ahead of the fight with Tanaka at the end of 2016, in what was a bout for the WBO Light Flyweight title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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