Murata to take extended break from boxing


London Olympics gold medalist Ryota Murata said Sunday that he will take an extended time off from boxing, hinting he might even retire from the sport for good.

The 26-year-old Murata, the first Japanese in 48 years to win an Olympic boxing gold medal when he won the middleweight title in London, made the announcement at Wakayama Prefectural Gymnasium, where he was attending a sporting event.

“I have reached the end of a chapter with boxing. Basically, I don’t intend to continue fighting,” said Murata, who retired once before in 2008 before deciding to make a comeback. “I’m a guy who’s already quit once and came back. I might get that fire burning in me again to fight, but I just want to take some time away.”

Asked by reporters if he is considering competing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Murata said, “I am not thinking about it. There are new athletes who are stepping up and are performing well,” he said, also denying that he intends to turn pro.

The Nara native envisions studying sports management abroad to fulfill his dream of becoming an instructor. “I’d like to study sports science or sports management, even if it takes some years before I do that.”