Ryota Murata became a star in his home country of Japan after winning a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. Now a word champion, he will make the first defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight title on Sunday against Italian challenger and former European middleweight champion, Emanuele Blandamura, at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. (photos by Naoki Fukuda)
This special, international edition of Top Rank on ESPN will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and stream on the ESPN App at 8 a.m. ET, with a same-day replay scheduled for 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
“I’m looking forward to defending my title in front of my home fans,” Murata said following Friday’s news conference at the Hotel Grand Palace. “Blandamura has excellent speed, and I think he has great timing and rhythm.”
As for what’s next, provided he beats Blandamura, Murata’s wish list is long. The middleweight division is loaded with talent, and Murata is ready to take on all comers.
“I will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime,” Murata said.