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Canelo Alvarez in discussions about facing Ryota Murata in Japan

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 53-1-2 (36) could face popular Japanese boxer Ryota Murata 16-2 (13) in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Murata, 34, claimed Olympic gold as a middleweight in 2012, breaking a 48-year gold medal drought for Japanese boxers. He became the nation’s 100th ever gold medallist as well as their heaviest Olympic boxing champion.

Alvarez’s promoter, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez, told Sky Sports: “He wants to fight abroad and we have discussed with him fighting in Japan, a homecoming in Mexico, and the UK. He has considered all of those options and, before he retires, he will fight abroad.

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“It’s about his brand. He wants to become a more international star, not just fighting in the US. He wants to become an even bigger star than he is now. He has fans all over the world and he wants to build on that.”

Murata has defeated ever man he has faced in the pro ranks. In 2017 he dropped a split decision to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam but reversed the result with a seventh-round stoppage in their immediate rematch.

A 12-round decision loss to Rob Brant in October 2018 was avenged with a second-round knockout nine months later.

“He understands what his fans and public are looking for,” a source in Japan told Sky Sports.

A second source added: “He used to be a badass when he was younger, in his teens, but he is now known as an intelligent person.

“It is hard to tell if Murata enjoys his fame or not. He does not try to make himself look bigger than who he is.

“I don’t think he wants to be a rock star. He got into pro boxing, which he had once denied he would do, because he thought [it would give him] the biggest success in his life.

“His nature as a competitor drove him; he certainly knew that he was a rare heavier-weight class Japanese boxer and wanted to achieve something not many Japanese had done by winning a world title, which he has eventually achieved.”

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