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Ryota Murata retires at 37

Image: Ryota Murata retires at 37

By Craig Daley: Former WBA middleweight champion Ryota Murata retired on Wednesday after ten years in the pro ranks. With Murata’s huge fan base in Japan, it’s hard to imagine him choosing to retire, given his popularity and his ability to make money if he were to continue fighting.

Murata and Naoya Inoue are arguably the two most popular fighters in Japan, so it’s surprising that he’s retiring.

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata, 37, didn’t formally announce his retirement, so there’s always a possibility that he could return to the ring if the right fight comes along.

Murata retires on top of game

In what is considered rare in this sport, Murata (16-3, 13 KOs) walked away while still at the top end of his career eleven months after losing his WBA ‘regular’ middleweight belt in a unification match against IBF champion Gennadiy Golovkin in April 2022.

Murata gave Golovkin all he could handle for the first five rounds before getting caught with a big shot in the sixth and going downhill from there.

What’s notable about that fight is how bad Murata made Golovkin look with his body punching. Murata followed his team’s game plan perfectly, and he gave the 39-year-old Golovkin fits until getting hurt by him.

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What was surprising is Murata stopped fighting after losing Golovkin, even though he’d fought well and shown massive power. The way that Murata looked in that fight, he would have given then-WBO champion Demetrius Andrade and WBC champ Jermall Charlo huge problems.

Ryota Murata rose quickly

It’s unknown how much money Murata made in his career, but he’s likely made enough to retire. He didn’t say what he’ll do after retirement. Boxing obviously has played an enormous role in Murat’s life, so it would be interesting to know what job, if any, he’ll hold after retiring.

Promoted by Top Rank, Murata was moved quickly after turning professional in 2013. After just four years, Murata fought for a world title for the first time, losing to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam by a controversial 12 round split decision in May 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. In the rematch five months later, Murata stopped N’Dam in the seventh round to capture the WBA 160-lb title.

Murata lost his WBA title to Rob Brant by a 12 round unanimous decision in their first fight in October 2018. In the rematch, Murata looked like a different fighter, throwing sustained combinations to stop Brant in the second round in July 2019.

Murata’s ability to stick to a game plan made the difference in that fight. His team had done their homework well, knowing that Brant could be beaten by combination punching, and it worked to perfection.

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