This Saturday night in Las Vegas, streaming live on ESPN+, Rob Brant gets his shot at the WBA “world” middleweight title when he faces Ryota Murata in the Top Rank main event.
Brant, 28, lost his biggest fight to date, when he stepped up to 168 for the World Boxing Super Series and came up short against Juergen Braehmer. He tells ESPN that he’s fully accepted that loss, and learned from it, and also revealed a bit of his strategy for Saturday’s showdown.
“They’ve picked a lot of tailor-made guys for him and I just think bullying the bully will do the trick against this guy. He’s very fundamentally sound but if he’s pushed back, if you keep him on his back foot, he will focus 90 percent on defense and 10 percent on counterpunching. So I think it’s going to be tough for him. He just got here this week. It will be tough to adjust to the pace we trained to bring.”
Brant (23-1, 16 KO) was a rising prospect at 160 before his bold move to 168, which didn’t work out for him. He’s a talented fighter.
That said, Murata (14-1, 11 KO) is easily the best fighter he’s faced at 160 to date, and maybe the best fighter he’s faced, period. The 32-year-old Japanese star won the gold medal at London 2012 as a middleweight, and really should be undefeated as a pro, his only loss a flat robbery to Hassan N’dam, which he avenged nicely in a rematch.
Murata is being talked up as a potential opponent next spring for Gennady Golovkin. But he has to get by Brant first.