World Boxing Association "regular" middleweight champion Ryota Murata will fight world No. 10 Emanuele Blandamura of Italy on April 15 at Yokohama Arena in his first title defense since winning the belt last October, his gym announced Monday.
Murata was crowned champion after beating France's Hassan N'Dam by TKO in the seventh round of their rematch, becoming only the second-ever middleweight titleholder from Japan following Shinji Takehara in 1995.
The 32-year-old, who has a 13-win, one-loss record with 10 knockouts, suffered his only defeat in his controversial first bout with N'Dam last May, which saw two of the judges suspended for scoring the fight in favor of the Frenchman and WBA President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza calling for a rematch.
Murata is the only Japanese boxer to have won both an Olympic medal and a world championship belt.
Blandamura, who is the current European middleweight champion, has 27 wins and two losses with five KOs.
The WBA's "super" champion at the weight is Gennady Golovkin, who also holds the IBF, IBO, WBC world titles.
Blandamura has been knocked out twice in his career - which were his only two defeats to date - and those KO losses were at the hands of Michel Soro in June of 2015 and Billy Joe Saunders in July of 2014. Saunders is currently the WBO's middleweight champion.
Blandamura has won his last four bouts. He captured the EBU title in December 2016 with a split decision over Matteo Signani. And then retained the belt with a close decision over Allessandro Goddi in June 2017 - and he's been inactive since that victory.
Golovkin is likely going to defend his belts in a rematch with Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Cinco De Mayo weekend, May 5th, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas - after the two boxers fought to a controversial twelve round draw at the same venue last September.