Should he win on Saturday night, Ryota Murata, the WBA "regular" middleweight champion, is going to move forward with a major fight in 2019.
Murata defense his belt against mandatory challenger Rob Brant Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout will be streamed live beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) has fought in Vegas twice in the past. He made his Las Vegas debut at the Thomas & Mack Center on Nov. 7, 2015, winning a ten round unanimous decision against Gunnar Jackson, and then he came back to the city 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 made his first title defense on April 15 in Yokohama, Japan, knocking out former European middleweight champion Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round.
Brant (23-1, 16 KOs) was in action back on March 9 in Hinckley, Minnesota, Brant returned to middleweight and knocked out Colby Courter in the first round.
Murata's co-promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, would like to match him against former unified champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs).
Murata is all for it - and believes the bout would be a fire fight.
"It would be nice if it happens. It would be especially nice because it would be good for boxing. Yes, I think it would be a war. I think it would be a real exciting fight," Murata said.
And he also wants to fight Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), who holds the WBC and WBA 'super' titles at 168-pounds.
But he also wants Canelo to be clean - after the Mexican superstar tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. Canelo maintains that his positive tests were a direct results of ingesting contaminated meat while in Mexico.
"I would like to fight Canelo Alvarez, but without the Mexican beef," Murata said.