Olympic boxing gold medalist Murata mulls turning pro

Kyodo

Middleweight Ryota Murata, who became Japan’s first Olympic boxing champion in 48 years last summer at the London Games, revealed Saturday he is thinking of turning pro.

“It’s true that I have been thinking about that world,” the 27-year-old told reporters. “But the truth is that I haven’t made up my mind 100 percent to turn pro. Nothing is decided.”

Japan Amateur Boxing Federation chairman Akira Yamane was informed of the possibility that Murata might turn pro in mid-January after it was reported he was in negotiations with Tokyo’s Misako Gym.

The Nara native became the first Japanese to win a silver medal at the world championships in 2011.

Misako has produced such fighters as former world champion Koichi Wajima and Takao Sakurai, the bantamweight champion at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, who also joined the gym after turning pro.