Ryota Murata, the fighting pride of Japan, will take his world championship show on the road to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Murata will make the second defense of his WBA middleweight world title against Rob “Bravo” Brant on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Park Theater at Park MGM.
Murata-Brant will stream live in the United States beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Teiken Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions, ticket information for this world championship event will be announced shortly.
“We are delighted to have middleweight champion Ryota Murata fighting at the Park Theater,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “He is one of the leading sports figures in Japan, and his fans will be in for a treat when they watch him in Las Vegas.”
“It is the dream of all boxers to headline in Las Vegas, and for me, this is certainly a dream come true,” Murata said. “Rob Brant is an excellent opponent, and I will prepare my best to put on a great performance for all of the fans in Las Vegas and watching on ESPN+. I am only getting started as a world champion.”
“I am very excited about my upcoming bout with Ryota Murata. This fight has been on my mind since before he fought Hassan N’Dam,” Brant said. “Though I respect all of his accomplishments, I have always felt as though I have all of the tools to clearly defeat him. Not only has it been a life goal of mine to be a world champion, but also to headline a card in Las Vegas at a major venue. I take none of this lightly. This means the world to me, and that will reflect on October 20.”
Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts International, said, “It is an honor to welcome Ryota Murata to Park MGM as he returns to the boxing capital of the world for another international championship event. We look forward to delivering fight fans worldwide a great night of boxing at Park Theater, highlighted by these two talented fighters.”
Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) is one of Japan’s most popular sporting stars, a crossover figure who captured Olympic gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. Following the Olympic gold medal and an amateur career that also included five Japanese national titles, Murata turned pro with great fanfare and graduated to scheduled 10-rounders by his fourth pro bout. He made his Las Vegas debut at the Thomas & Mack Center on Nov. 7, 2015, winning a clear 10-round unanimous decision against Gunnar Jackson. Murata appeared on the on the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 23, 2016, knocking out George Tahdooahnippah in the opening round.
Murata’s lone loss was a highly controversial one. In front of his home fans at Tokyo’s Ariake Colosseum in May 2017, he dropped a 12-round split decision against Hassan N’Dam for the vacant WBA middleweight title. The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, and five months later, Murata stopped N’Dam in the seventh round, becoming only the second Japanese-born middleweight world champion in boxing history. He made his first title defense on April 15 in Yokohama, Japan, knocking out former European middleweight champion Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round. The Blandamura fight drew a peak rating of 17 million viewers on Japanese television.
Brant (23-1, 16 KOs), from St. Paul, Minnesota, turned pro in 2012 following an amateur career that included a U.S. National Golden Gloves title in 2010. He captured the vacant NABA middleweight title on Jan. 22, 2016 with a one-punch knockout against DeCarlo Perez. Brant defended the belt two times before moving up to the super middleweight division to take part in a single-elimination tournament. In the quarterfinals of the tournament, he was outboxed by former two-time light heavyweight world champion Jürgen Brähmer, losing a unanimous decision. In his most recent fight, March 9 in Hinckley, Minnesota, Brant returned to middleweight and knocked out Colby Courter in the first round.