WBA World middleweight champion Ryota Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) was victorious in his first title defense in stopping the light-hitting 38-year-old contender Emanuele Blandamura (27-3, 5 KOs) in the 8th round on Sunday night in a mismatch televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes from Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.
Murata, 32, nailed #6 WBA Blandamura with a big looping right hand in the 8th round that put him down. The shot appeared to catch Blandamura on the back of his head and it sent him down on the canvas on his hands and knees. The referee Raul Caiz Jr. didn’t waste any time in stopping the contest straightaway. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:56.
The Italian Blandamura spent most of the fight moving around the ring, throwing jabs and trying to keep away from the hard right hands that Murata was hitting him with. There wasn’t much variety from Murata in terms of his offensive arsenal. He was typically throwing right hands and left hooks to the body. Murata looked robotic much of the time when he would throw his rights.
There wasn’t much hand speed from the Japanese fighter. He was telegraphing his shots, and throwing a lot of chopping rights to the head of Blandamura when he was able to trap him against the ropes long enough to fire off a right.
Blandamura looked like he was in trouble in the 3rd round when Murata landed some hard right hands that had him briefly covering up. Blandamura was able to get on his bike and move away from Murata to make it out of the round.
Blandamura took a lot of heavy shots from Murata in rounds 6 and 7, and it was clear that the Italian fighter was tiring from the pace of the fight.
This wasn’t much of a fight for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata, as he was much bigger the 5’10” Blandamura, and far stronger. Blandamura has a knockout percentage of 17%, and he was no match with the punching power of Murata, who has knocked out 73 percent of his opponents since turning pro in 2013.
Overall, it was a good performance for Murata tonight. He fought well in beating the over-matched Blandamura.
Murata showed good punching power and excellent pressure in getting the victory. However, Murata’s promoters at Top Rank need to match him a little bit better than this if they want to make him a star in the U.S. Blandamura did not look like a contender. He looked like a fighter that belonged in the 2nd tier level. In other words, Blandamura did not look like a world class fighter.
Top Rank can probably keep Murata as a world champion for a little while longer if they continue to match him against beatable fighters, but he’s going to have to fight Daniel Jacobs soon unless Top Rank can match him against WBA Super World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. There’s talk that they want Murata to defend against fringe contender #13 WBA Esquiva Falcao next, and then they want to make the fight with GGG in Tokyo, Japan.
It’s probably a good idea that Top Rank makes the Golovkin-Murata fight, because if Murata faces Jacobs, he’s going to be up against it. Golovkin would at least give Murata a good payday. I think he’ll lose badly to Golovkin, but at least he’ll likely get a bigger payday fighting him than facing Jacobs.
Murata is a decent fighter, but not quite world championship level. He’s a belt holder, but only because the World Boxing Association has two world titles at 160. Murata was able to pick up the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title by facing Hassan N’Dam. Had Murata fought someone quality like Jacobs, Jermall Charlo or Sergiy Derevyanchenko, he likely would have lost to all of them. Murata will stay champion as long he doesn’t have to face those guys.