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At the age of 28, Ryota is fighting for the third time as a pro. A sensational prospect at 160 pounds, he is a former international amateur standout – he was the middleweight gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics.
He is coming off an eighth-round TKO win against David Peterson in his last fight on December 6.
After the fight, Dan Rafael wrote on ESPN.com [excerpts]: Murata won a 2012 Olympic gold medal and turned pro with a second-round knockout in August. His second pro assignment proved a bit more demanding, as he was stretched into the final round of the scheduled eight-rounder by Peterson. Murata finally dropped and stopped Peterson with a furious attack at 1 minute, 20 seconds of the eighth. Murata had dominated the fight and was up 70-63, 70-63 and 69-64 through seven rounds.
After Ryota's pro debut on August 25 - a second-round TKO win against Akio Shibata - Rafael wrote [excerpts]: Murata won Olympic gold for Japan in the 2012 London Games, becoming the first Japanese boxer to win a gold medal since Takao Sakurai in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Murata is also the first Japanese fighter to win an Olympic medal in a division other than bantamweight or flyweight.
He made his heralded professional debut in a scheduled six-round bout against countryman Shibata, a solid fighter who owns one of Asia's most respected regional titles.
Murata dropped Shibata in the final seconds of the first round with a right hand. In the second round, Murata was all over Shibata and had him staggering, prompting the referee to step in and call off the fight at 2 minutes, 24 seconds.
Murata is going to fight regularly in Japan for the time being, but you can count on seeing him in America, probably next year. He recently signed a co-promotional deal with Akihiko Honda's Teiken Boxing, the No. 1 promoter in Japan, and Top Rank. [End Rafael items]
Fight by Fight – 2012 – in his last fight on 12-6-12 in Tokyo, JAP, he won by TKO (8th round) against David Peterson (13-1): the scheduled 8-rounder was on the undercard of the Akira Yaegashi-Edgar Sosa main event; Peterson gave a determined effort, but Ryota dominated the fight, landed the harder punches, and steadily wore him down; he scored a knockdown with a series of punches in the 8th round, and the referee stopped the fight at 1:20; after seven rounds, Ryota led by scores of 70-63, 70-63, 69-64…
He made his debut at the age of 27 on 8-25-13 in Tokyo and won by TKO (2nd round) against OPBF middleweight champion Akio Shibata (21-7-1): the scheduled 6-rounder headlined at Ariake Coliseum, and Ryota quickly overpowered him; he scored a knockdown with a right hand in the 1st round, then staggered Shibata with a series of punches in the 2nd and the referee stopped the fight at 2:24…
AMATEUR BACKGROUND: Ryota reportedly had 138 amateur fights, with a record of 119-19…
He finished his sensational amateur boxing career in 2012 with the sport’s top prize – an Olympic gold medal…
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]
2012 OLYMPICS - London England, 165 pounds - GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 8-2-12 he won a 21-12 decision against Abdelmalek Rahou of Algeria; in the quarterfinals on 8-6-12 he won a 17-13 decision against Adem Kilici of Turkey; in the semifinals on 8-10-12 he won a 13-12 decision against Abbos Atoyev of Uzbekistan; in the finals on 8-11-12 he won a 14-13 decision against Esquiva Falcao of Brazil; The Mainichi [Japan] reported from ringside [excerpts]: “Murata entered the ring smiling as always, while his wife Yoshiko watched from the stands. When the fight ended and the judges met to decide the winner, Murata raised his arms in apparent confidence of his victory. When a referee held up Murata's hand, Yoshiko jumped ecstatically.”…
2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Baku, Azerbaijan, 165 pounds - SILVER MEDALIST: in his first fight on 9-26-11 he stopped (2nd round) Leandro Sanchez of Argentina; in his second fight on 10-1-11 he stopped (3rd round) Abbos Atoyev of Uzbekistan; in his third fight on 10-3-11 he won a 22-11 decision against Mohammad Sattarpoor of Iran; in his fourth fight on 10-4-11 he won an 18-15 decision against Stefan Haertel of Germany; in the quarterfinals on 10-5-11 he won an 18-9 decision against Darren O'Neill of Ireland; in the semifinals on 10-7-11 he won a 24-11 decision against Esquiva Falcao of Brazil; in the finals on 10-8-11 he lost a 24-22 decision against Evhen Khytrov of Ukraine...
2011 PRESIDENT'S CUP - Jakarta, Indonesia, 165 pounds - GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 7-3-11 he stopped (1st round) Anatoliy Klinkov of Russia; in the quarterfinals on 7-5-11 he stopped (2nd round) Yang Yu Ting of Taipei; in the semifinals on 7-7-11 he stopped (2nd round) Jong-Yeob Lee of Korea; in the finals on 7-8-11 he stopped (3rd round) Arslanbek Achilov of Turkmenistan...
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.