OSAKA, JAPAN — Home is where the punching power is. Ryo Murata redeemed himself with a career-defining rematch win over Rob Brant, recapturing the WBA middleweight title with a decisive second-round stoppage before his hometown fans at the EDION Arena.
Nine months ago, the two met with a listless Murata getting dominated in his second U.S. appearance. Brant was able to get off with flashy combinations for 12 rounds with Murata always being too sluggish to counter.
For the rematch, Murata put the pressure on from round one and established himself as the stronger puncher. While Brant threw over 100 punches (a key component of his strategy in the first fight) in round one, Murata matched him with digging right hand body shots. Murata alternated straight shots and hooks that lowered Brant’s guard enough to open up flush head shots.
Murata wobbled Brant early in the second and battered his foe for close to a minute. Murata stayed patient behind varied offense and punished Brant to the head and body for not holding. Eventually, a clean shot sent Brant careening into the ropes and forced the referee stoppage.
Murata improves to 15-2 (12 KOs) while Brant suffers his first knockout defeat and falls to 25-2 (17 KOs).
BACK IN THE TRIPLE G SWEEPSTAKES: Fans will recall Murata October, he was considered a potential comeback opponent for Golovkin before the upset loss to Brant last October. With Canelo-GGG 3 in flux and seeming less likely by the day, Murata might again become an attractive option for Golovkin should Canelo pick Sergey Kovalev.
The problem is the short time frame. Golovkin likely wants to return in September and Murata and his promoter Top Rank might not fancy such a quick turnaround. For now, Murata can at least say he’s back in the discussion of marketable middleweights.