By Chris Williams: Despite having been easily beaten last October by American Rob Brant in a one-sided 12 round fight, Ryota Murata (14-2, 11 KOs) has decided to face Brant in a rematch on July 12 on ESPN at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka, Japan. Murata, 33, didn’t immediately agree to make the rematch after losing to Brant last October, but he’s thought it over and decided to take the rematch.
There won’t be a lot of interest from U.S fans in watching a second fight between Murata and Brant. Hopefully, this will be the last time these two face each other if Brant beats Murata again. It’s more of a business level fight rather than a sporting one where there’s need for it. The boxing public hasn’t been showing interest in seeing Murata and Brant fight each other a second time, which isn’t surprising given how one-sided their fight was last October. Brant, who is signed with Top Rank, doesn’t have a lot of options for interesting fights right now unfortunately. The big names in the middleweight division, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, fight on DAZN. The next best talent, Jermall Charlo, is with Premier Boxing Champions and fights on Showtime. Brant doesn’t have anyone to fight. Hence, we’re seeing him put in a rematch with Murata. The fight will make money in Japan, but it’s unlikely the U.S fans will tune in to see this one again.
Since beating Murata to capture the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title last October, Brant has made one successful title defense of his World Boxing Association title in defeating little known Khasan Baysangurov by an 11th round knockout last February in Hinckley, Minnesota. Brant will be traveling to Osaka, Japan on July 12 to fight Murata in his own home country. Potentially that could be a problem for Brant if the fight is close, but it likely won’t be. Murata is too slow, too economical with his punches, and too limited as a fighter to hang with Brant, no matter where the fight is. This is a mismatch just like their previous fight was. There are guys that Murata would do well against, but Brant isn’t one of them.
Brant has won three fights in a row since losing to Juerge Braehmer by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in October 2017 in Germany in a fight in the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.
“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.”
The move is an odd on Murata’s part, as he has very little chance of winning, and he can probably make more money by looking to get a title shot against IBF/WBA middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez than he can facing Brant again.
The Brant vs. Murata II rematch was announced on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan at a news conference for the 12th of July at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan. The Brant-Murata 2 fight will be shown in the U.S on ESPN in the early morning hour on July 12. With the fight being shown early in the morning, it’s questionable whether it’ll bring in good ratings. Brant and Murata aren’t big names in the U.S, so unless Top Rank Boxing and ESPN market the fight in a major way, it’ll fall below the radar screen for a lot of fans.
One problem with the fight is that it’s not really needed. The first Brant vs. Murata fight was such a mismatch, it’s going to be hard for the American fans to get excited at seeing the second one. Murata doesn’t throw a lot of punches, and he doesn’t look like he’s physically capable of doing that. He’s a guy with heavy hands, who looks to hurt his opponents with single shots. Brant is the opposite. He’s a light hitter, who wins his fights with volume punching. He’s got a good enough chin to handle the occasional hard shots thrown his way from the likes of Murata.
The two fighters fought each other on October 20th in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Brant (25-1, 17 KOs) thrashed Murata, beating him by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 118-110, 119-109 and 119-109.
“Rob Brant beat me fair and square, but I am ready to get revenge,” Murata said. “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.”
It’s nice that Murata took some time off and feels he’s got the desire to keep on fighting, but he’s so over-matched against Brant. Murata might have done better to take some more time off and thought of a different career direction to go in than going down this path again. Brant is like in there. Murata doesn’t need to be messing with that lion again if he’s smart.
The fight was so one-sided that you can make an argument that Murata’s corner should have pulled the plug after eight rounds, because he was getting hit with nonstop punches. It was like something out of an movie on television where a hapless opponent is getting hit with one shot after another without blocking anything. Brant threw 1,262 punches, with many of them landing. Brant isn’t a big puncher, and that’s the ony reason Murata wasn’t knocked out in the fight. But his fast was badly swollen from having been hit so many times. When you get hit a lot, it doesn’t matter if your opponent lacks power. It does big time damage.
After the fight, Murata sounded like he wasn’t interested in facing Brant again, because he was so over-matched in that fight. It’s unclear what made Murata change his mind. Perhaps he’s surveyed the middleweight landscape and realized that he would stand an even worst chance against IBF champion Daniel Jacobs, WBA/WBC champ Saul Canelo Alvarez or WBO belt holder Demetrius Andrade. Brant, 28, is viewed as the weakest link among the current champions at 160 today by a lot of boxing fans.
Although Brant only has one loss during his seven-year pro career to Juergen Braehmer in October 2017, he’s not shown the kind of talent that would suggest that he would beat any of the current champions or even the top contenders like Gennady Golovkin, Maciej Sulecki, David Lemieux or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Brant is what is refereed to nowadays as a ‘belt holder.’ Some boxing fans call him a ‘paper champion.’ He’s a belt holder, but he’s beaten anyone talented during his career, and his win over Murata came against another ‘belt holder.’ Murata had been beaten in the past by Hassan N’Dam, which tells you all you need to know about Murata. He was a good amateur fighter, and captured a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, albeit a controversial gold medal win. A lot of boxing fans thought Murata was given a gift in the 2012 Olympics.
Hopefully this is the last time Murata and Brant face each other if the results are the same as the first fight last October. It would be a shame if Top Rank keeps putting Brant in with Murata if for no other reason that the fight generates money from Japan. Brant needs to be involved with opposition that are competitive with him if he wants to become a name in the U.S. Trotting out Murata again is pointless, and forlorn. In some ways, the Brant vs. Murata rematch is like the rematch between George Foreman and Joe Frazier. It was pointless. Frazier never stood a chance. Those two could have fought each other 100 times, and Foreman would win each time by knockout. Brant will always beat a guy Murata in this writer’s opinion, because he’s got a style that is all wrong for him.