Ryota Murata will make the first defence of his WBA middleweight title against Italy’s Emanuele Blandamura at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan on April 15th.
Murata was the first Japanese boxer to claim an Olympic gold medal since Takao Sakurai in 1964 and has made quick progress in his professional career, competing in his first world title bout in May 2017, less than four years after turning professional.
Hasan N’Dam squared off against Murata in his first world title bid and claimed a hugely controversial split decision victory. An immediate rematch was ordered by the WBA, with two of the judges involved in the contest being suspended for six months and ordered to take evaluations before working on WBA-sanctioned fights again.
In the rematch, Murata claimed his revenge, and secured the WBA title, dominating N’Dam and forcing him to retire on his stool after the seventh round.
Blandamura, ranked number eight by the WBA, is a former European middleweight champion, who in his last outing retained his European title with a unanimous decision victory over Alessandro Goddi.