Both say they’re ready, but speed could be the key
Rob Brant dominated Ryota Murata last October in Las Vegas. The result surprised many-most of all 2012 gold medalist Murata. The Japanese star requested a rematch which will go down this Friday at Eden Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan.
Brant (25-1, 17 KOs) was last seen in the ring five months in Minnesota stopping Khasan Baysangurov in a hometown title defense. He was sharp, busy, and efficient.
Murata (14-2, 11 KOs) hasn’t fought since losing to Brant. The 33-year-old is one of his nation’s most revered sporting heroes and will look to gain vengeance in front of his home fans.
"Rob Brant beat me fair and square, but I am ready to get revenge,” said Murata when the fight was made official. “I want to show everyone the real Ryota Murata and regain my world title in spectacular fashion. I took some time off after my last fight, but I never lost my fighting desire. In fact, I am more motivated than ever.”
Brant is looking forward to fighting Murata again.
"I am very excited to be defending my title in Japan against Ryota Murata. Ever since I beat him for the belt, I have always known this fight was on the horizon,” Brant said. “I feel Murata is only at his full potential while in front of his people. This fight is me showing the world that I can bring my full potential with me wherever I go.”
Brant is unbeaten when fighting as a middleweight. He entered the first Murata fight as a sizable underdog, but his activity told the story. Brant threw 1,262 punches — the second-most ever recorded by CompuBox in a middleweight fight — to overwhelm Murata. For his first title defense, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota, Brant knocked out the previously unbeaten Baysangurov.
Murata had a fast rise through the pro ranks after turning pro in August 2013. He won the first 12 bouts of his career before losing a highly controversial split decision to Hassan N’Dam in May 2017 for the vacant WBA middleweight title. He exacted revenge five months later, stopping N’Dam in seven rounds to win the title. Murata made one successful title defense before running into the Brant last October.
Murata wants a knockout.
“I’ll hit hard to regain my belt,” said Murata.
Brant is primed and ready for the sequel.
“Murata will be more aggressive than in our first encounter,” Brant said. “But I prepare my game plan to cope with him and it’ll be hard to catch up with me.”