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Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Ryoto Murata vs. Rob Brant

By: Michael Kane

Ryoto Murata, makes his second defence of his WBA Middleweight title against American Rob Brant at the MGM’s Park Theatre, Las Vegas, Saturday 20th October.

Murata (14-1, 11 KO’s) won the middleweight crown after winning a rematch against Hassan N’Dam Jikam winning by TKO in round seven in October 2017.

Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

This rematch came about after they both fought for the vacant title and Jikam won a controversial split decision, when most thought Murata had won.

Murata defended his belt for the first time in April against Italian Emanuele Blandamura winning by 8th round TKO.

During the press conference, Murata was asked about facing GGG or Canelo and replied, “Everything will happen after the result of this fight, so I’m not thinking ahead. I am looking forward to getting the victory on Saturday.

“I had a great training camp, and I am going to put everything out in the ring that I trained with. I am very prepared and very confident.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity, especially to Bob Arun and everyone at Top Rank and the team over at Teiken Promotions.”

Brant (23-1, 16 KO’s) has won the WBA-NABA Middleweight title and WBC Continental Americas Middleweight title while he was on a 21 fight win streak.

Brant entered the first season of World Boxing Super Series where he faced German Juergen Braehmer in the Super Middleweight division Brant suffered his first and only defeat losing by unanimous decision.

Brant returned to middleweight and defeated Colby Courter by 1st round KO in March and feels confident ahead of his fight against the Japanese superstar.

“We knew that Murata would be the challenge of a lifetime being an Olympic gold medalist as well as being a world champion. I knew I’d have to be here early working with (trainer) Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. We’re training specifically for Murata. I feel good. I feel confident.”

When asked about moving back to 160 after competing at 168 briefly, Brant said, “I feel like this is my natural weight. I feel a lot better at 160 pounds. I did my entire amateur career at 178 pounds at light heavyweight. Then I decided I had to lay off the McDonald’s a little bit and actually train. My body is actually very comfortable at 160, and that’s where I am going to stay at. And it’s where I am going to win my titles

In the co feature bout Maxim “Mad Max” Dadashev defends his NABF Super Lightweight belt against former world champion Antonio DeMarco.

Dadashev (11-0, 10 KO’s) won the belt in his last outing against Darleys Perez in June by TKO in the 10th round.

The 28 year old Russian takes on a veteran in DeMarco (33-6-1 24 KO’s), the Mexican has won his last two fights having lost beforehand 3 in a row including losing his title to Jessie Vargas back in 2014.

Dadashev said at the press conference, “My opponent is a former WBC champion. Of course, he has really good experience and is a smart fighter. That’s it. But I’m also strong.

“I am working hard in the gym and am prepared for this fight. I had a good camp and (would like to fight for a world totle) as soon as possible.”

DeMarco has his eyes on becoming a world champion again.

“I’ve been through this before and I’ve seen this before. It’s truly a pleasure to be here.

“I want to thank Maxim and his management team for taking this fight. I feel good about it. I’m at peace. I’m very comfortable, and I want to become a world champion again.”

Also on the card is popular Irishman, Michael Conlan who makes his Las Vegas debut. Conlan has been on a bit of a tour since turning pro with Top Rank, with fights in New York, Belfast and Australia.

Conlan headlined a show in his home city, Belfast last time out and won comfortably against Adeilson Dos Santos winning by unanimous decision. Conlan takes on Italian Nicola Cipolletta in the featherweight division.

Conlan is looking forward to his Vegas debut.

“It’s my fourth fight of the year, and I plan to have another one after this. It’s a pleasure to be here in Las Vegas. It’s my first time fighting in probably the fight capital of the world at the minute.”

Conlan on his trainer Adam Booth.

“It’s been fantastic with Adam. I think now the pen has finally dropped. Everything seems to be falling into place. I know fighters say it all the time, and I get sick of hearing it myself, but it’s definitely the best training camp I’ve had. I feel like I’m becoming more of a complete fighter, and that’s what I want to show on Saturday night. I want to show how advanced my style is now.”

Conlan, who lost controversially as an amateur in the Olympics is looking to face his old for Vladimir Nikitin who also appears on the card.

Conlan said, “It would be fantastic to face Vladimir in the professional ranks. I have no ill feelings towards Vladimir. I know it wasn’t his fault, but revenge is something that I want. I have no anger towards him, but I will {fight} him with enjoyment, and I do believe I’ll get the victory when we face each other.”

The event will be streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S and Boxnation in the UK.

ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET

Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant, 12 rounds, WBA Middleweight World Championship

Maxim Dadshev vs. Antonio DeMarco, 10 rounds, NABF Super Lightweight Title

ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET

Esquiva Falcao vs. Guido Pitto, 10 rounds, Middleweight

Michael Conlan vs. Nicola Cipolletta, 8 rounds, Featherweight

Fazliddin Gaibnazarov vs. Wilberth Lopez , 8 rounds, Super Lightweight

Adam Lopez vs. Hector Ambriz, 8 rounds, Featherweight

Joseph Adorno vs. Kevin Cruz, 6 rounds, Lightweight

Vladimir Nikitin vs. Clay Burns, 6 rounds, Featherweight

David Kaminsky vs. Noah LaCoste, 4 rounds, Middleweight

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