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Ryota Murata defends against Emanuele Blandamura on April.15 in Yokohama, Japan


By Chris Williams: It’s now official that WBA World middleweight champion Ryota Murata (13-1, 10 KOs) will defend his title for the first time on April 15 against the recently twice beaten #10 WBA fringe contender Emanuele Blandamura (27-2, 5 KOs) at the Arena, in Yokohama, Japan.

If Murata is successful with his maiden title defense against 38-year-old Blandamura, he’ll next defend against 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (19-0, 13 KOs) in July, according to ESPN. Murata beat Falcoa by a controversial decision in the 2012 Olympics. Like many boxing fans, I saw the fight and I had Falcoa winning easily. It’s unclear where the Murata vs. Falcoa fight will take place. Since Murata is the WBA champion, it’s likely that Falcoa will need to go to Japan to fight him. Hopefully, there’s no controversy with the rematch like there was in the 2012 Olympics. It would be nice to see Murata to fight the main WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Murata’s promoters at Top Rank should try and make that fight before Golovkin moves up to 168. It might not be a good idea for Murata to face a talent like Golovkin though. Up until recently, GGG tended to take the judges out of the equation.

The 38-year-old Blandamura is arguably one of the safest choices for Murata’s promoters at Top Rank to pick for him to fight. The other top 15 contenders in the WBA’s top 15 rankings would give Murata a lot of problems and potentially beat him. Murata isn’t one of those fighters that you can match against anyone and count on him winning. He’s not that type of talent, as we saw in his first fight with N’Dam.

Murata lost that fight, and he deserved to lose in my opinion. The almost 40-year-old Blandamura’s claim to fame was beating little known 38-year-old Matteo Signani (24-5-3, 8 KOs0 of Italy by a 12 round split decision in December 2016 to win the vacant European Boxing Union middleweight title.

Blandamura defended his EBU 160 lb. title successfully once beating Alessandro Goddi (33-2-1, 16 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in his first and only title defense last June before vacating his title. I’ve never heard of Goddi either. He’s obviously domestic level fighter that Blandamura defended his title against.

It’s unclear why Blandamura vacated his EBU middleweight belt. Was he expected to fight a good contender that might beat him? Who knows? For a fighter Blandamura’s age to give up his EBU title without defending it a second time, it makes you wonder. But, Blandamura is at least getting a title shot, by Murata, which is a good thing for him. I don’t know if it’s a good thing for the boxing public. I think they would probably prefer to see Murata defend his WBA title against one of the best contenders in the middleweight division like Jermall Charlo or Danny Jacobs. Murata defending his title against one of those guys would show something.

2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata pulled in huge ratings for his rematch with Hassan N’Dam N’Jijam on October 22 in beating him by a 7th round stoppage to win the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight crown at the Kokugikan, in Tokyo, Japan. The fight pulled in a peak of 30 million viewers in Japan. That’s an enormous amount of boxing fans to watch a fight, but it’s also not surprising that Murata would have that many fans watching him. After all, he did win an Olympic gold medal for Japan in 2012, albeit a VERY controversial medal. There are many fans who thought Murata deserved to lose to Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan and Esquiva Falcoa of Brazil. Murata beat Atoev by a 13-12 score and Falcoa by a 14-13 score. Falcoa and Atoev both landed a lot of shots on Murata without getting points for the landed blows. It’s too bad there’s no such thing as rematches in the Olympics to clear up controversial scoring.

Murata is the 2nd of 2 world champions the WBA has at 160. The World Boxing Association was supposed to have been reducing amount of champions they have in each weight class, but they haven’t gotten to the 160 lb. division for some reason. The middleweight division has 2 champions right now in Gennady Golovkin and Ryota Murata. One of them isn’t needed. It would make sense if the WBA would either order Murata to fight Golovkin or take his title from him. It’s for boxing fans when they see 2 champions with the same sanctioning body at the same weight.

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