As had been previously rumored, Ryota Murata will make a defense of his WBA “world” middleweight title on April 15 in Yokohama, Japan, facing former European champion Emanuele Blandamura of Italy.
As we said before, this isn’t the most inspired choice of opponent for Murata (13-1, 10 KO), who won the belt on October 22 from Hassan N’dam, five months after being robbed against the same fighter.
ESPN reports that if Murata is successful as expected, he’ll probably return in July, coming to the United States to face Esquiva Falcao on a Top Rank card on ESPN. Murata beat Falcao 14-13 in a London 2012 gold medal fight.
Blandamura (27-2, 5 KO) on paper stands no real chance against Murata. His two losses were both knockouts, in step-up fights against Billy Joe Saunders in 2014 and Michel Soro in 2015. He recently vacated his European title and canceled a fight against his mandatory challenger in order to pursue this bout.
ESPN also reports that there are plans in place for them to air Murata-Blandamura live on some network or another, at least streaming.