Earlier today fight fans across Japan, and the US, had the chance to see WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (14-1, 11) [村田 諒太] record his first defense, as he overcame the game but horribly out-matched Italian challenger Emanuele Felice Blandamura (27-3, 5).
From the opening moments the bout looked like a mismatch, as the physically imposing Murata began to stalk the ring applying his typical deliberate pressure on the challenger. Blandamura didn't seemed too concered about the pressure, and moved well around the outside of the ring, but was unable to ever slow Murata who picked his spots and landed some hard jabs and stiff straight right hands.
There wasn't much original about Murata's work but what worked was working and he kept to the same style through out the fight. Applying his constant, educated and almost mechnical pressure on Blandamura. The Italian was competitive, in spurts, but as Murata moved through the gears the bout was becoming more and more one-sided, with Blandamura given a real pounding in round 5 and 6 as he began to really feel the pressure, power and consistency of Murata, who seemed to land with an insane amount of his shots.
Despite dominating Murata struggled to land clean, had he done so he may have stopped Blandamura early on, but the Italian was in survival mode around round 5 as he retreated and looked like he knew he was a beaten man.
With Blandamura hurt and unable to really stop Murata it did seem like the champion turned off somewhat in round 7. He took the round, but looked less aggressive than he had in the previous few rounds. In some ways it was almost as if he wanted to give Blandamura false hope, allow him to open up and counter him. Sadly though Blandamura didn't really play ball and instead Murata moved up a gear in round 8, finally dropping the challenger, and scoring the stoppage with the referee saving the challenger from further punishment.
After the win Murata spoke about his desire to face Gennady Golovkin, and that is a real possibility down the line, though it does seem like his return to the ring won't be against the Kazakh but instead against Brazilian Esquiva Falcao, who Murata beat several times in high profile amateur bouts including the 2012 Olympic final.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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