At the age of 32, Ryota is a four-year pro. The WBA middleweight world champion, he is a former elite international amateur who won the middleweight gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
He was recently named Japan’s “2017 Boxer of the Year.”
By Joe Koizumi [Feb. 9 – excerpts]: “WBA middleweight champion Ryota Murata was unanimously named Japan’s Boxer of the Year today by Japan Boxing Commission (JBC), Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA; a union of licensed club owners) and Sports Writers Club.
“Murata, also a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, impressively dethroned Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam via TKO route in their grudge fight last October to his credit.”
Over his first 12 fights as a pro, Ryota stayed active in the ring, stepped up in class of opposition, and gave strong performances. He had nine scheduled 10-rounders, and went the full 10-round distance three times.
On May 20 in Tokyo, he challenged for the vacant WBA middleweight world title, but lost a very controversial 12-round split decision against two-time Olympian and former WBA and WBO interim middleweight champion Hassan N’Dam.
In his last fight – a mandated rematch on October 22 in Tokyo – Ryota avenged that loss and controversy and won the WBA middleweight world title by seventh-round TKO against N’Dam.
The Ring’s Ryan Songalia reported [excerpts]: This time, Ryota Murata didn’t leave it in the judges’ hands.
The Japanese middleweight avenged his dubious split-decision loss earlier this year, battering Hassan N’Dam around the ring and prompting N’Dam to remain in his corner after the seventh round at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall.
Murata picked up where he left off last May, landing heavy right hands and mixing in effective left hooks to the body of the France-based Cameroonian N’Dam, who was stopped for the first time as a pro. Unlike their last fight, there were no knockdowns, though N’Dam showed signs he was hurt in just about each round, particularly in the sixth, when his legs buckled from a right cross from Murata.
N’Dam spent much of his time in the last few rounds circling away from danger. The final punch that Murata landed was a left jab that knocked his head back.
The stoppage win gives Murata closure after their first fight saw two judges score the fight for N’Dam, a verdict so indefensible that it left WBA president Gilberto Mendoza “embarrassed” and prompted him to suspend those two judges for six months. [End Songalia item]
AMATEUR BACKGROUND: Ryota reportedly had 138 amateur fights, with a record of 119-19, and won five national championships in Japan…
He finished his sensational amateur boxing career in 2012 with the sport’s top prize – a gold medal at the Olympic Games…
From wikipedia.com [excerpts]: Murata started boxing in the first grade of junior high school. His then trainer was Hiroaki Takami who competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Two years later, he regularly attended Shinko Boxing Gym in Osaka from his home in Nara City. He was trained under the former Japanese super lightweight champion Hiromu Kuwata at that gym for one year. He proceeded to Minami-Kyoto High School and there was coached by Maekawa Takemoto (died in 2010 at the age of fifty) who served as the coach of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta….
Murata got married in May 2010, and they had a son in May 2011. [End wikipedia.com item]
AIBA reported on its website [aiba.org, Oct. 15, 2012 – excerpts]:
MURATA’S TRIUMPH IN LONDON PUT BOXING BACK ON THE MAP IN JAPAN
In a country with a rich heritage in combat sports, Japan has waited a long time to find a new boxing hero but that all changed this summer at the ExCeL Arena.
Two months on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, middleweight superstar Ryota Murata is still basking in the glory of capturing his country’s first boxing gold medal since 1964.
Impressive with his unique blend of poise and power, he delighted the crowds at the ExCeL arena every time he took to the ring as he emulated his compatriot Takao Sakurai’s final victory at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.
After being crowned Amateur boxer of the year in Japan in both 2005 and 2011, he received the Metropolitan Sport Award in 2012 and the Nara Citizens Honour Award after his heroics in London. Boxing is now back on the map in Japan….
Murata is the hundredth gold medalist for Japan in their Olympic history. It is Japan’s first boxing gold medal since Takao Sakurai won in the bantamweight class in 1964, and also is the first-ever boxing medal in a weight class other than bantamweight or flyweight. [End AIBA item]
From wikipedia.com [excerpts]: Murata began boxing when in first grade at his junior high school. His talents were quickly identified by resident coach Hiroaki Takami, who was a former national champion and competed at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He regularly attended the Shinko Boxing Gym in Osaka to train with former Japanese National Champion Coach Hiromu Kuwata during that time before changing schools to attend the Minami-Kyoto High School where he was then coached by the late Maekawa Takemoto, who passed away at the age of 50 in 2010.
Murata won the All Japan Boxing National Championships at middleweight in 2004 when he was only 18 and since then has remained unbeaten on home soil. That same year he joined up with his national squad and made his international debut at the King’s Cup in Thailand where he secured a hard-fought runner-up place. Following that impressive tournament, he then claimed a bronze at the 2005 Asian Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
He won the Japanese National Championships in 2009 before returning to the international fold at the 2010 China Open Tournament where he secured a confidence-boosting bronze medal.
Murata could not compete at the Asian Games in Guangzhou following an injury sustained right before the championships but he came back stronger and stepped up a level in 2011.
The tough Japanese boxer went on to win the gold medal at the President’s Cup in Jakarta where he stopped all of his rivals within the distance, with scalps including Russia’s Anatoliy Klinkov and Turkmenistan’s Arslanbek Achilov. As a result, he travelled to the ASBC’s Asian Boxing Championships in Incheon as the favourite. His opening victory over Chinese titleholder Zhang Jianting however was unfortunately followed by a quarter-final loss to eventual winner Shukhrat Abdullayev of Uzbekistan. [End wikipedia.com item]