“Regular” WBA Middleweight Champion Ryota Murata, last seen mauling Emanuele Blandamura in April, has an opponent lined up for his second title defense: #3-ranked Rob Brant, whom the WBA have ordered him to come to terms with by July 15th.
The only two people ranked above Brant are Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs, the latter of whom just got an invite to fight Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the IBF title, so it makes sense from that perspective at least.
Brant (23-1, 16 KO) rode a four-fight knockout streak that lasted less than eight total rounds into his Super Series matchup against Jürgen Brähmer, but got thoroughly son’d by the aging veteran. He returned to middleweight in March with a first-round smashing of 12-11 Colby Courter.
He looks to be at or below the level of Hassan N’Dam, whom Murata (14-1, 11 KO) battered to win the title last October. The middleweight title picture is a bit of a clusteryouknowwhat at the moment, so it may be a while before we see Murata get a chance to test himself against his fellow elites.