Rob Brant shocks Ryota Murata to win minor WBA 160-pound title

Anthony Cocks

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Unheralded middleweight contender Rob Brant 24-1 (16) scored a major upset when he dethroned highly-regarded WBA ‘regular’ titleholder Ryota Murata 14-2 (11) by one-sided unanimous decision at the Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

Fighting in front of a crowd of just under 3,000 people, Brant was able to dominate the champion to win by scores of 118-110, 119-10 and 119-109.

Brant threw an incredible 1,262 punches according to CompuBox, landing 356 of his shots. By contrast, Murata landed just 180 of 774 blows thrown.

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“This is one of the best moments of my life,” Brant said. “I wasn’t thinking about punch output. I was thinking about winning.”

Top Rank-promoted Murata, 32, was having what was expected to be his breakthrough fight on American soil as he sought to secure a match-up with former unified middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin 38-1-1 (34).

Instead, the 20212 Olympic gold medallist from Japan goes to the back of the middleweight queue behind the likes of Daniel Jacobs, Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and unified champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

“This was a great middleweight championship fight,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “Both fighters showed tremendous heart. Congratulations to the new champion. He deserved the win.”

Murata won the WBA title almost a year ago to the day in his rematch against Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, winning by seventh round stoppage after dropping a 12-round split decision five months earlier.

The 28-year-old Brant from Dallas, Texas – who lost a 12-round decision to veteran Juergen Braehmer in Germany a year ago – claims the biggest scalp of his six-year pro career and becomes a player in the competitive 160-pound division.

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