One title fight went as expected in Yokohama today, while another most assuredly did not.
In the main event, WBA Middleweight Champion Ryota Murata overpowered challenger Emanuele Blandamura in his first title defense, using his customary pressure to wear the Italian down before finishing him with a heavy right hand in the eighth round. ESPN has highlights and you can watch the full fight on YouTube here.
Murata (14-1, 11 KO) confirmed that he wants a crack at “Super” champ Gennady Golovkin, who has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to challengers at the moment. Blandamura (27-3, 5 KO) suffers his third knockout loss, having fallen to Billy Joe Saunders and Michel Soro in European title bouts.
The real story, though, is Cristofer Rosales’ finish of Daigo Higa. Higa (15-1, 15 KO) came in two pounds overweight, losing his WBC flyweight title in the process, and things didn’t go much better for him in the ring, as the taller Rosales (27-3, 18 KO) chewed him up at range until the former champion’s corner stopped it in the ninth. The full fight’s here.
This really says a lot about Andrew Selby, who decisively beat the Nicaraguan last year.
Higa’s only 22, so there’s still plenty of time to bounce back, but his style is one that demands confidence. Here’s hoping it’s still there.