Rob Brant came in the underdog, hungry and energized to the max, throwing over 1,200 punches in downing Ryoto Murata and snagging the middleweight strap by the Japanese boxer in October 2018.
But Brant wasn’t able to get untracked and overwhelm his foe with volume in the rematch which unfolded in Japan on Friday.
Murata (now 15-2 with 12 KOs; age 33) is a major league celeb in Japan, and so interest in his effort to regain the crown was considerable at Edion Arena in Osaka. The assembled roared their approval when in round two a harsh flurry from Murata had the ref step in, and stop the contest. The time of the halting was 2:34, and with that, Murata again gains hold of the WBA title.
Promoter Bob Arum spoke Murata’s performance: “Murata looked amazing. He’s ready for Canelo.” Top Rank co-promotes the again-champ, with Teiken.
In round one, we saw Murata looking defensive, with Brant (now 25-2; age 28) starting fast. With Brooklyn born living legend Eddie Mustafa Muhammad looking on in the corner, Brant circled, speedily, peppered, and then slid away. Murata pivoted, looked serene as he bore in on the Minnesota based boxer. The Japanese man started investing right away to the body, and found a slot for hooks to the side as Brant sought to hit and run. Brant too started whacking to the body and the men mixed it up center ringat 1:30. Murata wasn’t being put off by Brant’s tosses, and his height edge looked to be used to good advantage. He edged forward, had Brant backing up a bit, and the crowd dug that first three minutes.
To round two: Both men were busy from the opening seconds. Brant slid left, then right, wanting to be mobile and not let Murata get too clean a look at him. The Japanese boxer was not to be deterred; a right hand hurt Brant, who was buzzed and needed to clear his head. Murata wouldn’t let him. He basted the MN boxer, and sent him to the mat at 1:36. Brant rose, took a count, and wanted to survive. Murata wouldn’t let him. Punishment accumulated, as Brant tried to stay on his feet. He did but he was eating hard and clean shots. Murata slowed some, but grabbed some air, and started blasting again. Two right crosses were the finishers–the ref looked to be ready to step in a couple times.
Possibilities for near term future plans could include Esquiva Falcao, who owns a 23-0 mark. Looks as thought Falcao craves a crack at that crown.
The Brazilian, age 29, has familiarity with Murata. He lost to Murata by 14-13 decision in 2012 Olympic final.