Rob Brant came into the ring a heavy underdog. He left it a champion.
Brant, from St. Paul, Minn., toppled Ryota Murata by unanimous decision to win the WBA middleweight title in front of 2,782 fans at the MGM’s Park Theater in Las Vegas.
Brant threw an astounding 1,262 punches, landing 356. Murata, meanwhile, landed 180 of 774 punches.
It was the second title defense for Murata (14-2, 11 KOs), a 2012 Olympic gold medalist for his native Japan. Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) remains unbeaten when fighting as a middleweight.
“This is one of the best moments of my life,” Brant said. “I wasn’t thinking about punch output. I was thinking about winning,
“This was a great middleweight championship fight,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “Both fighters showed tremendous heart. Congratulations to the new champion. He deserved the win.”
Dadashev Survives DeMarco
Maxim “Mad Max” Dadashev had never seen anything like Antonio DeMarco before.
A former lightweight world champion, DeMarco stunned Dadashev on multiple occasions, but Dadashev had enough left in the tank, closing strong down the stretch to win a unanimous decision (96-94, 97-93, 98-92) and retain his NABF super lightweight title.
Dadashev (12-0, 10 KOs) swept the last three rounds on all three judges scorecards to secure the win against DeMarco (33-7-1, 24 KOs), who saw his two-fight winning streak come to an end.
“This was a great learning experience for me,” Dadashev said. “DeMarco is a true champion, and he fought with great heart and determination.”
Michael “Mick” Conlan’s Las Vegas debut went according to plan. The two-time Olympian from Belfast, Ireland, broke down Nicola Cipolletta and knocked him out with an accumulation of blows in the seventh round.
Conlan (9-0, 6 KOs) pushed the pace against the defensive-minded Cipolletta (14-7-2, 4 KOs), who was making his American debut. Cipolletta, who was content to back up for much of the fight, succumbed from Conlan’s vicious body attach.
“When you fight a guy who is negative and trying to survive, those guys are the hardest guys to look good against,” Conlan said.
“He was just negative. Now, I want real opponents. I want top 10, top 15 opponents. These are the guys who are going to make me look good.
“These are the guys who are going to bring out the best of my technical ability. When you see guys trying to survive, it’s a lot easier to survive than fight it out.”
Conlan is scheduled to close out his 2018 campaign on Dec. 22 in Manchester, England.
A rematch with old Olympic rival Vladimir Nikitin remains in the pipeline for 2019.
Nikitin (2-0, 0 KOs) won a unanimous decision over six rounds over Clay Burns (5-5-2, 4 KOs). Scores were 59-55 3X.
Middleweight: Esquiva Falcao (22-0, 15 KOs) unanimous decision, 10 rounds, Guido Pitto (25-6-2, 8 KOs). Scores: 100-90 3X.
Lightweight: Joseph Adorno (10-0, 9 KOs), unanimous decision, 6 rounds, Kevin Cruz (8-1, 5 KOs). Scores: 59-53 2X, 58-54.
Adorno said: “I felt great going the distance for the first time. I wasn’t tired at all and got the job done. I am very happy with my performance.”
Super Lightweight: Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3 KOs),TKO 2, 2:13, Wilberth Lopez (23-10, 15 KOs)
Featherweight: Adam Lopez (11-1, 5 KOs), TKO 8, 1:29, Hector Ambriz (12-8-2, 6 KOs).
Middleweight: David Kaminsky (3-0, 2 KOs), TKO 2 , :40, Noah LaCoste (2-1, 2 KOs).
* Kaminsky scored knockdown with uppercut in round 1. LaCoste stopped on his feet in the second.