Ryota Murata’s Exclusive Confession! Determination and determination” to take on the biggest fight in history
WBA World Middleweight Super Champion, 43 fights, 41 wins, including 18 consecutive knockouts, "Fight of the Century" with the greatest middleweight champion in history looms!
Your guard looks great after you hit the ball!
Voices fly from the corner. After a left uppercut to the body, a left hook to the face, and a straight right hand, he blocked his partner’s punch at close range. His attack and defense were sharper than anything I have seen from Ryota Murata (36) in the past.
Right after the bell to start the third round, Murata landed three jabs.
That left, nice! It’ll lead to the next one!”
The trainer’s voice echoed through the gym, then, after a pause, Murata slammed a power-packed right hook into his partner’s side.
Murata will face him on April 9 in a WBA & IBF unification middleweight bout. Gennady Golovkin (39) is a “super” big name.
A silver medalist at the ’04 Athens Olympics, he turned pro and won the WBA title in August ’10. Since then, he has made 19 defenses while also winning WBC and IBF belts.’ In 2006, he relinquished the title after losing a decision to Mexican favorite Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (31), but many people involved in the fight argue that Golovkin won. His current record stands at 41 wins (36 KOs), 1 loss, and 1 knockout, with GGG (Triple G) being his most popular name. It’s a nickname.
Despite his 18 consecutive knockout victories in world title fights, Golovkin, a Kazakhstani, has been treated as a “foreign champion” in the United States, the home of boxing. In his first fight with Alvarez, he was forced to fight for $2 million less fight money than the $5 million guaranteed by the challenger, despite being the champion. Murata first became aware of him when he was a freshman in college watching the Athens Olympics on television.
He said, “They were playing the middleweight finals on BS. I fought Gaidarbekov of Russia and lost in an upset. In the beginning, he was fast and strong, but as he was swinging around, he was targeted at the end of his strikes and lost by decision.
The year before the Athens Olympics, he won the inter-high school championship. He was already one of the most talented fighters in Japan at the time, having reached the finals of the All Japan Championships, where he competed alongside university students and working professionals, despite being a high school student. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would be the seventh challenger for the WBA title to cross gloves with GGG. (46), a former world champion, said, “I’ve been working on this for a long time.
All of Golovkin’s opponents were afraid of his punching power, so they planned to use their legs to avoid being hit. But they would end up getting caught and knocked down. I challenged him to a very close fight, crushing his distance. However, as I leaned forward to get closer, my head was also forward, and I was hit by many jabs. Golovkin’s jab was motionless and I couldn’t see it. And when I tried to entangle my arms with his, he immediately untied me. When I tried to hold on to him, he pushed me away. What I felt the most was Golovkin’s physical strength.”
Ishida ran out of strength after three rounds.
A year and three months later, Murata was allowed to participate in a training camp for Golovkin’s 11th defense. At the time, Murata had won all four of his professional fights with four KOs, and at the camp he even got to spar with the champion. Golovkin recently told the British media that he was impressed with Murata at the time.
Golovkin told the British media recently that he was impressed with Murata at the time: “It wasn’t so much sparring as sparring. But I understood that Murata is very serious and has a high boxing IQ.
When I told him about Golovkin’s comments, Murata smiled and said, “It’s like, ‘Thank you very much.
At the time, I was still a novice, and Golovkin hit me on the arm or something, saying, ‘It’s not sparring to knock me down by hitting me in the face. But George Groves (34, former WBA super middleweight super champion) was also at the camp, and Groves beat him up. I could tell that he took it lightly with me.”
Murata’s image of Golovkin, as he saw him for the first time, can be summed up in one word: “A gentleman.
He told me that training had to be mutually beneficial. I had a film crew with me, and usually these people are in the way. But every time I passed by them, I would say, “Excuse me. I was very impressed by that. I really respected him as a strong man.
On the other hand, Murata says he is not interested in the Alvarez fight at all. Alvarez is currently the leading player who can draw a crowd. However, the fact that he has the backing of political power cannot be overlooked. He once signed a contract for a middleweight title fight at 70.3 kilograms instead of the original 72.5 kilograms. He was also found to be using the banned substance clenbuterol, but returned to the ring after only a six-month suspension.
Golovkin came here clean. That’s one of the reasons I respect him. There is a feeling in the boxing world that if you have money and popularity, anything is allowed. Even if he doped, he would be forgiven within six months. Basically, I don’t like the fact that the governing body is going along with fighters who have a lot of fight money. It is not good for boxing.
Because it is a dangerous sport, the rules have to be strict. The governing body has loosened them. If you don’t discipline yourself and become a champion, you will not grow as a person. That’s why I want to fight Golovkin, who has overcome himself.
Murata said he first became aware of GGG in his first world title match, against Assan Endam (38) on May 20, 2005.
I had never fought a world-class fighter before, so I wondered what it would be like to be a world champion,” he said. Where do I stand?” I was thinking. I am the type of person who cannot see the top unless I climb the stairs on my own feet. I don’t know if it was one or two steps, but I thought I could see a little bit of Golovkin, who was in the clouds.
He lost the match by a questionable decision, but won the world title in the return match five months later. However, he fell in the ring in Las Vegas for his second defense. These two losses made Murata a bigger fighter, and in the rematch against his second opponent, Rob Brandt (31), he attacked and attacked from the opening bell, knocking him out in two rounds.
‘I was too bad in Vegas,’ he said. But I was able to reassess myself in a lot of ways. Losing made me scrutinize the style that suited me and the style that didn’t, and for the first time, I was able to grow there. In the two fights against Endam, I was pushed mentally and overcame that, but the boxing itself was not good. But the second fight with Brandt was different. I faced myself and was able to properly change my boxing.”
He reflected on the fact that he was looking too much at his opponent and corrected it. By boxing without waiting, he was able to show his true ability and regain his title.
In boxing, the goal is to win and make noise, but losing reveals what is important. There is something to be gained from defeat, and it colors your 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 will attract the attention of all of Japan.
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 to you? You asked yourself, “What is it that I want to do? The answer was, as I knew, 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 looking forward and facing Golovkin, I guess I am in this kind of state of mind. That alone is huge for me.”
Until the day of the match, he was shuttling back and forth between the hotel and the gym. He spends his days communicating with his family by phone and LINE.
I told my daughter, ‘I’m going to do my best. I’ll do my best. But only God knows if I will 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, “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’s why they are “testing each other. I felt encouraged by my son’s words, or rather, I felt as if he was telling me a lesson.
Trainer Sendai Tanaka, who kept talking to Murata from his corner, said.
He has the natural timing and power to match Golovkin, and he’s a keen researcher, so I’ve been supporting him just enough to push him along without getting in his way. I think he can win. If he loses, it will be the trainer’s fault.”
These are the words of a trainer who has been through the most ordeals in the Japanese boxing world today. He has lived in Mexico for a long time and has worked under the second chair of local superstars. It is rare for him to speak confidently.
The aforementioned Yunehiro Ishida also said, “I am very confident that I can win this tournament.
We have a good chance to win. （When he won the gold medal (at the London Olympics in 2012), he was physically unbeatable by the best fighters from various countries, so don’t overestimate GGG and be confident when he enters the ring. I hope so.”
What kind of fight will Murata show at Saitama Super Arena on April 9? What will he feel and learn in the ring?
From the April 15, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Interview and text： Soichi Hayashi
PHOTO： Takeshi Kinugawa