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Boxing: Murata to make 2nd WBA middleweight title defense in Oct.

Japan’s Ryota Murata will make a second defense of his WBA middleweight world title, this time against American challenger Rob Brant in Las Vegas in October, it was announced Thursday.

Murata, who was crowned champion last October, will headline a card at the Park Theater on Oct. 20 as he takes on Brant, the No. 2 ranked middleweight in the WBA.

«Definitely, I want to put on a good fight and get a knockout,» Murata said at a press conference Thursday in Tokyo.

«(My opponent) is formidable going forward and in defense and he has a lot of knockouts. Clearing the WBA’s mandatory challenger and such a highly-rated opponent is a step to the next level.»

With the WBA ordering a defense, Murata’s promoters originally disagreed with Brant being granted a 50-50 split of the purse, but after further negotiations, the sides reached an agreement.

The split is typically 70-30 in favor of the titleholder.

The agreement, however, allows Murata to avoid having to vacate the title or be stripped of it by the sanctioning body.

The 32-year-old Japanese fighter has had two non-title bouts in Las Vegas but said he is «closer to his dream» of a world title fight in the Mecca of boxing.

In April, Murata made his first title defense in Yokohama where he beat former European middleweight champion Emanuele Blandamura by technical knockout in the eighth round. He claimed the title last October after a second attempt against France’s Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.

Murata, the 2012 Olympic middleweight gold medalist, has a 14-1-0 record with 11 knockouts, while Brant has 23 wins, including 16 KOs, and one loss.

All — Kyodo News+

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