By Chris Williams: Rob Brant and Ryota Murata will be facing each other in less than two weeks from now in a rematch on July 12 on ESPN+ at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka, Japan. Brant (25-1, 17 KOs) is looking very good lately since winning the WBA belt last year against the Japanese fighter, and he’s on verge of putting himself in position for a big fight.
Brant, 28, is coming off of an impressive 11th round knockout victory over Khasan Baysangurov in his first defense of his WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title last February. It was a great performance by the Minnesota native Brant.
Murata taking major risk in rematch
You have to question the logic of the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata taking this fight with Brant, but what else can he do? Murata is too slow to beat any of the other champions at 160, and he lacks the size to move up to 168 to compete against the lions in that weight class.
The 33-year-old Murata (14-2, 11 KOs) will be attempting to avenge his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision defeat he suffered at the hands of Brant last October in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brant dominated Murata, throwing 1,262 punches, and winning by the scores 118-110, 119-109 and 119-109. The way that Brant out-punched Murata, it’s hard to see a different outcome in their rematch. Brant is too busy of a fighter for heavy-handed Murata to beat him in a shoot out, and that’s the only way he fights.
Murata wants revenge against Brant
- “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.”
Brant came into the fight with Murata as the underdog last October, but he showed the Boxing fans that the odds-makers had no clue with the way he easily beat the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. If the bettors had taken the time to watch Murata’s 12 round split decision defeat at the hands of Hassan N’Dam in May 2017, they would have thought twice about installing him as the favorite against Brant. It doesn’t matter that N’Dam’s win was controversial, the fact is the fight was close, and it shouldn’t have been if Ryota was the real deal. N’Dam is a limited fighter, and he exposed Murata as being on the same level as him. That’s why it was no surprise to many Boxing fans that Brant easily beat Murata.
Brant’s punch output will give Murata problems
There’s nothing Murata can do try and match Brant’s volume punching, because he’s not designed for that kind of a fighting style. What Murata must do is look to catch Brant with one of his big shots to knock him out the way he did George Tahdooahnippah, Bruno Sandoval, and Felipe Santos Pedroso. Those are lower level fighters. It’s going to be much harder for Murata to KO Brant, because he’s a far more talented fighter, and he’s not going to be a stationary target.
If Murata loses this fight, he’s going to need to start thinking about an exit strategy for his career. Brant is considered the weakest of the middleweight champions in the eyes of a lot of Boxing fans, and it doesn’t get easier than this for Murata. If Murata moves up to 168, it’s not going to be even tougher for him in that weight class. This is really as good as it gets for Murata in challenging Brant for his WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title on July 12.