By Miguel Maravilla
Top Rank Boxing has once again signed an Olympic star. A press conference was help Monday for the signing of Japan’s 2012 Olympic gold medalist middleweight Ryota Murata. The 27-year-old will be co-promoted by Japanese based Teiken Promotions along with Top Rank Boxing and will be managed by Dentsu, which is the largest advertising agency in the world (Murata is the first boxer they manage).
“It’s a great pleasure for us to announce today that Top Rank in association with Teiken Promotions will be promoting the boxing career of Ryota Murata,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “It isn’t very often that we get a young man who after more than 50 years wins a gold medal in boxing for his country and wins it in a division that is usually not associated with boxers from his country. Murata did what many people would regard as the unthinkable. He won a gold medal in the London Olympics in the middleweight division and world of boxing may never be the same again.”
“Now we have from Japan a young man who may very well take the middleweight division and bring it again to the glamorous center in boxing. We look forward to this venture. Ryota Murata will be crowned as the middleweight champion of the world, that day will be coming” Arum concluded at the press conference.
Speaking English briefly, a very charismatic Murata welcomed everyone in attendance. “Good afternoon everyone I woke up this morning and memorized this speech in English,” Murata said as he drew laughs. “I am very excited to be working with Mr. Arum and Top Rank I will do my best to become a world champion. Thank you.”
Murata is the first boxing gold medalist to come out of Japan since bantamweight Takao Sakurai won the medal in the 1964 Olympics. Among his accomplishments in the amateurs Murata was a silver medalist at the 2011 World Championships in Azerbaijan before winning the Olympic gold. He had over 100 amateur fights and has a fan friendly pro style that will assimilate him into the professional level.
“He really can fight,” said Arum. “Most Olympic athletes because of the scoring system fight defensive, Murata fought like a pro in the Olympics. He is a real credit to his to his country and will be a credit to boxing. Believe me, in three years we will have a middleweight champion.”
“I had about 140 fights from the age of 18 to 26. I was a national champ. In 2011 I was a silver medalist. The only target I had was to be a gold medalist. I was satisfied winning the gold medal, it was one of my goals. My concentration is now on being a pro fighter. I am proud to be an Olympian but if I don’t succeed, all that goes to waste,” Murata told Fightnews.com “I have a little bit of pressure but mostly I am looking forward to it and I am excited about it.”
Murata also discussed his decision to turn pro and sign with Top Rank. “It was a team decision we believe that Top Rank will be the best to make my boxing career. I began boxing when I was 13. I wanted to be strong. When I began to box, Felix Trinidad was my idol. I am an aggressive fighter and you can expect exciting fights from me.”
Murata is eager to begin his pro career. He will be trained by Ismael Salas, along with veteran trainer/cutman Miguel Diaz and will train at the Teiken Gym in Japan as well as the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas. Murota is scheduled to make his professional debut sometime in August.
“As a gold medalist, professional boxer and representing Top Rank, as a boxer I want to become world champion and leave my name as one of the legends in boxing,” Murata told Fightnews.com in conclusion.
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Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank