Boxing: Murata receives top Japanese middleweight rank


London Olympic champion Ryota Murata, who scored a technical knockout of Oriental and Pacific Federation champion Akio Shibata in his pro debut Sunday, has been promoted to the No. 1 Japanese middleweight rank, the Japan Boxing Commission announced after a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

According to the JBC, it is the first time a Japanese boxer has automatically received the top rank after winning his pro debut. Murata floored Shibata in the first round before landing a crushing right to end the fight in his nontitle match.

“It’s an extreme honor,” Murata said in a statement. “Now I am determined to aim for an even more valuable ranking.”