Days after Canelo Alvarez vacated his version of the WBA middleweight title, Ryota Murata has supplanted his place as the sanctioning body’s “Super” champion.
The WBA announced Murata has been elevated to “Super” middleweight champion, officially cementing his place as the WBA’s world champion at that weight. Murata forms part of the quartet of titleholders at middleweight alongside Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo.
The sanctioning body’s Championships Committee promoted Murata on January 5. Alvarez held the “Super” version of the middleweight title, but had not defended it since May 2019. Alvarez has fought at both super middleweight and light heavyweight in his last two fights and has not indicated that he’s returning to middleweight anytime soon.
Below is the WBA’s full statement on Murata’s elevation:
Ryota Murata was promoted to World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Champion in the Middleweight division by a resolution of the Championships Committee, issued on January 5, 2021.
Murata, who was the 160-pound champion since July 2019 when he defeated Rob Brant in a rematch, has an exceptional career and is one of the best Japanese fighters today.
Based on rule C.18, which states that the President and the Championships Committee may recognize a fighter as a Super Champion under special circumstances, the WBA considers Murata’s career and record as a meritorious circumstance for the appointment.
Murata’s appointment will not generate too many changes in the rankings and it is done to give dynamism and activity to the division. The only relevant change is that Murata’s 9-month mandatory defense period will be extended to 18 months.
Murata, who is 34 years old, has a record of 16 wins, 2 losses, and 13 KOs in his professional career.
As previously reported, the No. 1 contender ranked by the WBA is interim titleholder Chris Eubank Jr. Magomed Madiev, Carlos Lindsey Monroe, Mikalai Vesialou and former world champion Sergio Martinez round out the rest of the WBA’s top five.
Murata, a gold medalist from the 2012 Summer Olympics, is in his second reign as a WBA titleholder. He first won it in 2017 against Hassan N’Dam, but went on to drop it to Rob Brant the following year. Murata and Brant fought each other again in 2019 with Murata stopping Brant in two rounds.