Ryota Murata is ready to take his professional career to the next level after his victory over American Dave Peterson.
Murata is set to fight in Top Rank's card in Macau on February 22, having signed with the American promoters in June.
The 27-year-old, who returned from London last year as the first Japanese boxer in 48 years to win an Olympic Games gold medal, stopped Peterson in the final round in Tokyo on Friday night.
It was the second victory of his professional career. He beat another Japanese fighter, Akio Shibata, in the second round of his debut in August.
Murata is part of Top Rank's push to make inroads in Asia. China's Olympic light-flyweight gold-medal winner Zou Shiming is also expected to fight in Macau, alongside another London Olympics champion, light-heavyweight Egor Mekhontsev of Russia.
"My next fight will be overseas, and I want to be able to put on a good show," the 1.82m tall Murata told.
"I won tonight and I also beat Shibata, who was the Oriental and Pacific champion. The more I win the less I want to lose and the better fights I want to have. I want to keep improving with every fight."
Top Rank chief Bob Arum expects Murata to compete against the top middleweights soon, and the Japanese is pleased with the way his fledgling pro career is progressing.
"I was a little stiff early in the match and that's something for me think about," the 27-year-old said. “But, on the positive side, I took it to the eighth round so that's good from a stamina point of view. Pace is the thing I have to work on. It's all experience.
"I'm always being told that every time I fight it adds more experience, but next time I'd like to bring it all together and show what I can do."
Murata is hugely popular in Japan, having become the first Japanese fighter to win an Olympic medal in a division other than bantamweight or flyweight.
He won his country's boxing first gold medal in almost half a century when he beat Brazilian Esquiva Falcao Florentino on points. But the fighter from Nara admits he is still coming to terms with his new surroundings.
"Because I did well in my first fight I felt pressure to keep it going and win my second," he said.
"It was only my second time in the ring as a pro and I felt a bit nervous. Going to the eighth round was a big thing to take from the fight. However much you train, a real bout always brings up things that you can't get anywhere else." Tags: Ryota Murata