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Murata to face Nerio in fourth pro fight

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

Middleweight boxer Ryota Murata will take on Mexico’s Jesus Angel Nerio on May 22 in his fourth professional bout, his promotional team announced Monday.

It will be a special event for Murata, who has gone 3-0 since turning pro last summer, because he returns to his native Kansai to box without headgear for the first time.

“I’m glad to be able to fight in Kyoto, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Murata, a Nara native who went to Minami Kyoto High School, at Teiken Gym in Tokyo. “That’s where I would compete in the national athletic meets and inter-high school athletic competitions. So I have attachments (to the place).”

As is his normal routine, Murata was set to leave Japan Monday night and head to Las Vegas for a monthlong training camp.

The 28-year-old, who’s beaten his previous opponents with KOs, said that he wanted to establish a lethal signature blow to finish off his opponents in the United States.

Murata added that some past champions, such as Thomas Hearns, had heavy straight rights and said he wanted to brush up on the same punch.

“I want to have a punch that my opponents would be threatened by,” he said. “Otherwise, I won’t be able to fight (against stronger opponents) in the world.”

Murata’s opponent, Nerio, has posted a career 12-3 (six KOs) record. All three of his losses have come in his last five bouts. It will be a 10-round fight.

Murata said that he’s already watched one fight of Nerio’s on video and had the impression that the Mexican was elusive defensively so it would be hard to land punches.

“He’ll be the first Mexican I’ll fight,” Murata said. “But I have confidence and there shouldn’t be a problem.”