• Kyodo

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Boxer Ryota Murata took a major step toward winning Japan’s first Olympic medal in 44 years in the middleweight class when he advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday at the London Games.

The 26-year-old Murata defeated Algeria’s Rahou Abdelmalek 21-12 to set up a quarterfinal clash with Turkey’s Adem Kilicci to be held next Monday. Japanese compatriot Satoshi Shimizu moved into the men’s bantamweight quarterfinals a day earlier.

The last time a Japanese boxer reached the last eight was in 1988, when Katsuyuki Matsushima did so in the bantamweight category at the Seoul Olympics.

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