It was a case of swift revenge in Japan earlier today, as Ryota Murata regained the “regular” version of the WBA middleweight title from the man he lost it to back in October in Rob Brant. The return fight, which took place minutes ago in Osaka, was quite a different fight from the one that saw Brant fight his fight and win a 12-round decision last year in one of the bigger upsets.
This time, fighting at home and perhaps not overlooking or underestimating Brant (as some will say was the case nine months ago), Murata was a wholly different animal. Hitting Brant with everything in round-two, sending him down and then refusing to let the defending champ off the hook when he did get back up, 33 year old Murata got the TKO win as referee Luis Pabon decided Brant had taken enough and had no option other than to stop the fight.
Murata is now 15-2(12), Brant is now 25-2(17).
Going into today’s rematch, Brant, five years the younger man at age 28, said the location of the fight would not bother him, that he can fight “anywhere.” But after a pretty close opening session that was crammed full with action and forced fans to think a great fight was unfolding, it was clear the man enjoying home country advantage was in charge of the fight in a big, big way. After just a minute or so of round-two, Brant was taking quite a battering. There were absolutely no complaints about the stoppage. Nor is there any need for a third, deciding fight between these two. We didn’t get to see a great fight but we did get to see a great finish from Murata.
Murata has put himself back in the picture for some big fights down the road (he had been spoken of as a possible foe for Gennady Golovkin not too long ago, and this fight would certainly prove interesting now). Brant may be able to come again but he faces a long road.
On the undercard, Ken Shiro upped his record to 16-0 (9 KO) with a fourth round stoppage of mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing.