By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
WBA middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17 KOs), US, scaled in at 159.25, and former titlist and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata (14-2, 11 KOs) tipped the beam at 159.5 at the weigh-in ceremony on Thursday in Osaka, Japan.
It is a grudge fight as Murata, five years his senior at 33, lost his WBA belt to the then top contender Brant by a unanimous verdict in Las Vegas last October. Since this rematch is so sensational, it is reported almost all tickets have been already sold out at the Edion Arena Osaka the capacity of which is 6,500. Murata is said to be in a tip-top shape and people here highly expect him to win back his belt from his conqueror now handled by ex-world light heavyweight champ Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.
The WBA officials are as follows:
referee Luis Pabon (Puerto Rico); judges Stanley Christodoulou (South Africa), Raul Caiz Sr. (US), Jean Robert Laine (Monte Carlo).
Also, WBC 108-pound ruler Ken Shiro weighed in at 107.75 to 108 for Filipino challenger Jonathan Taconing. WBO Asia Pacific 130-pound titleholder Joe Noynay, Philippines, and his Japanese challenger as well as 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Satoshi Shimizu both scaled in at 129.75.
The first world title bout between Ken Shiro and Jonathan Taconing will be telecast live by Fuji Television from 8 PM nationwide in Japan, and the main event will follow accordingly. This show is presented by Teiken Promotions.