I hope I can be a good role model not only for future boxers but also for athletes by making a solid career for myself and showing that competition is not the only thing in life, and I think that is the future I should aim for.”
On March 28, former WBA world middleweight super champion Ryota Murata (Teiken Boxing Gym, 37) held a press conference in Tokyo and officially announced his retirement. Murata fought Gennady Golovkin (Kazakhstan), who was his goal when he became a professional boxer, in a unification bout on April 9, 2011, and lost by TKO in the 9th round. After that, his departure was the focus of much attention, but in February of this year, he officially informed gym president Akihiko Honda of his intention to retire, and it was approved. Murata avoided making any specific statements about his future plans. But he followed up with his opening words,
I cherish the present, and as a result of accumulating moments, something will remain. I think it is the accumulation of responding to God’s trials.
Murata expressed his feelings in a way that is uniquely Murata. This magazine has conducted several exclusive interviews with Murata. Here is a look back at some of his humanistic words.
I am not afraid of Golovkin. （I am afraid of losing myself (in the December 23, 2004 issue).
Golovkin turned pro with a gold medal from the London Olympics. This interview was conducted just before his pre-fight scheduled for December 30. Murata said, “I’m hitting good punches,
I’m sure I’m landing good punches, and I’ve gained a little confidence, but confidence is a fragile thing, and it’s easy to fall apart. I’m still not sure that I’m going to be able to do it. I’m ranked No. 3 in the world (WBO). I am ranked No. 3 in the world (WBO and IBF), but there is a deadly gap between me and the champion.
He said. At the time, Murata was said to be the closest challenger to the world champion and had the momentum of a flying bird, but his statement was surprisingly negative.
He was negative ……, or maybe he was just scared. I can do it! and then you get crushed, it’s a big shock. It hurts because there is no excuse.
When I talked to my father on the phone before my professional debut, we started talking about our children, but then he started saying he didn’t want to fight, and before I knew it, I was crying. I received this e-mail from my father. Before, you sent me a video of my son jumping, right? It’s the same thing. Kids don’t jump for someone to see them, they jump because they’re happy they’re growing, right? This has changed things, hasn’t it? I stopped thinking, “I have to win by KO, just like Ryota Murata. I simply did what I could do, without thinking too much.
Since that time, Murata had set his ultimate goal to fight Golovkin. Although he calls himself a “scared fighter,” he is not afraid of Golovkin,
Golovkin, the monster, reigns supreme, but I’m not afraid of him. Think about it. If there were only the referee and judges in the hall, even if I was beaten, it would end with “I knew he was strong. Only when there is an audience do you feel pressure. That is the fear of losing yourself. It is the fear that people might say, “Murata, you got beat up,” or upload the KO scene on a video site, not the fear of fighting Golovkin. It’s easier said than done, but I want to get closer to that kind of mentality.
How can there be no anxiety (laughs)? Anxiety allows us to grow. (August 2, ’19 issue)
In October ’18, as the WBA world middleweight champion, Murata faced challenger Brandt in the sacred city of Las Vegas and lost a decision by a wide margin. He was bashed for his “lack of moves,” his “passivity,” and his “need to attack more ferociously to win.” After returning to Japan, Murata told a reporter for this magazine,
I am thinking of retiring.
He was thinking of retiring. However, his eldest son, Joon-Young Joon, was not so sure,
If you lose one more time, you can quit boxing.
That’s what he said. On July 12, 2007, he won the rematch by TKO in 2:34 of the 2nd round to become the champion again for the first time in 9 months. Just a few minutes later, still reeling from his victory, the new champion said calmly, “I don’t know why I’m not anxious (laughs).
How can I not be anxious? I think it’s okay to be anxious. Anxiety is what makes you work hard, and anxiety is what makes you grow. I think people can relate to me because I am human.
[Joon] I believe that this is the first time I have become a champion. I was able to become the best in the world once, but that was due to luck and fate rather than ability. This time, I reexamined myself, became stronger, and won the title, which I consider to be a great life experience for me.
Losing makes us see what is important (’22 Apr. 12 issue).
And just before the fateful Golovkin fight, Murata’s mind seemed calmer than we had imagined.
[In boxing, the goal is to win and make noise, but losing reveals something important. There is something to be gained from defeat, and it colors one’s life. The other day, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and saw the night view of Tokyo from my hotel window. Here I am, out of the countryside of Nara, and here I am in Tokyo. I am about to have a fight with Golovkin, a fight that all of Japan will pay attention to.
You, when you were a kid, when you started boxing, when you came to Tokyo on a school trip in junior high school, you never imagined this, did you? What is boxing for you? What is the most important thing? I asked myself that question. The answer was my family. I don’t think I could have asked myself what was really important until I had such an important fight ahead of me. Now that I am facing Golovkin with a positive attitude, I think I am in this kind of state of mind. That alone is huge for me.
I told my daughter, “I’ll do my best. I’ll do my best. But only God knows if I’ll win or lose. I can’t promise that I will win,’ but my son, who is in the fifth grade, said something interesting. My son, who is in the fifth grade, said, “Yes, that’s right. A match is called a test, isn’t it? This is the same thing I heard in the mental training I used to do.
Matches are about testing each other’s strength and technique, not about winning 100 times out of 100. That is why it is a “test each other. Hearing my son’s words, I felt encouraged, or rather, I felt as if I was being admonished.
At his retirement press conference, Murata also said, “If I had been greedy, I could have earned money.
If I had been greedy, I could have earned money, but I could not find anything more than that. I think the biggest reason for my retirement is that I realized that I was beginning to develop an obsession with greed.
This magazine will continue to support Murata’s next challenge, which will be full of honesty and humanity.
PHOTO： Shoji Fukuyama, Ippei Hara (3rd) Takeshi Kinugawa (4th, 5th)