Ryota Murata has no excuses in his failed defense of the WBA "regular" middleweight world title on Saturday.
He suffered what many saw as a one-sided defeat to mandatory challenger Rob Brant of the United States at Park Theater in Las Vegas. The scores were 118-110, 119-109 and 119-109.
In his second defense and first world title fight abroad, Murata took several punishing blows from Brant over 12 rounds at the Park Theater, losing to his speedier opponent who entered as the WBA’s No. 3 contender.
Murata was not surprised with the verdict, he was never able to catch up with Brant's speed and he was taking a lot of punches in every round.
“I thought I was going to lose,” Murata said. “He could tell when I was going to throw my right. It was a comprehensive defeat.
“He was quicker than I thought and did his homework. I was made to feel my boxing skills are limited.”
The loss was a big blow to Murata, who was hoping to face Gennady Golovkin in a major event in Japan in the first half of 2019.
Top Rank, who handle Murata in the U.S., were attempting to bring Golovkin to ESPN - and using the lure of a big money fight with Murata as the first contest of that deal.
Instead of Golovkin, Murata's handlers are now focused on securing a rematch with Brant in the near future.
Murata, the 2012 Olympic middleweight gold medalist, fell to a 14-2 record with 11 knockouts, while Brant now stands at 24-1 with 16 KOs.
Murata made his first title defense in April, beating former European middleweight champion Emanuele Blandamura by technical knockout after eight rounds in Yokohama.
He claimed the title last October after a rematch against France’s Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, whose previous decision over Murata was called into question due to controversial scoring.