• Kyodo

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Japan’s London Olympic middleweight champion Ryota Murata won his first fight in the United States on Saturday, defeating Gunnar Jackson of New Zealand in a 10-round non-title bout in Las Vegas.

The 29-year-old Murata won on a unanimous decision to extend his unbeaten record since turning professional two-and-a-half years ago to eight wins, five via knockout.

Murata started strongly and continued to land right hooks and body blows on Jackson, smiling every time he returned to his corner at the end of the round.

But he was unable to score any decisive punches as Jackson got his head down and defended, and Murata’s smile disappeared when the final bell sounded.

“I could not finish (Jackson) off. I got something like two effective punches each to his face and body but it’s no good if you are not going anywhere after that,” said Murata.

“I could not respond to expectations and it was a lame performance,” he said. “I’m ashamed by my weak boxing. I wanted a knockout. My condition was great but I could not take any positives from that.”

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