• Kyodo


Ryota Murata regained the WBA middleweight championship Friday with a second-round technical knockout in a rematch with American Rob Brant.

Murata’s bout followed another world title fight at Edion Arena, where Kenshiro Teraji, whose ring name is Ken Shiro, successfully defended his WBC light flyweight title for the sixth time.

The fight between Murata and Brant was a rematch of their October title bout, when Murata lost the second defense of his title by unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

Brant dominated at the start, but as the round wound down both fighters picked up the intensity as if they both wanted to finish it there and then.

Murata, the 2012 London Olympic gold medalist, took command of the fight early in the second round. He knocked the 28-year-old Brant down, and halfway through the round had the American on the ropes and the crowd on its feet as he pummeled him with impunity.

“I came in with the impression that he would be very hard to knock out, so I think this was kind of lucky,” Murata said.

The 33-year-old Murata improved to 15-2. Brant fell to 25-2.

Teraji, 27, scored a fourth-round TKO of Jonathan “Lightning” Taconing of the Philippines to remain undefeated in 16 pro fights. It was Teraji’s ninth knockout.

Taconing, who had trouble countering his opponent’s salvos, was bleeding from cuts on his face when he staggered to the canvas in the fourth. He regained his feet but the referee stopped the bout to the fighter’s surprise. Afterward, he said he expressed dissatisfaction with the ref’s decision, saying he was keen to keep fighting.

It was the 32-year-old Taconing’s first loss by knockout. He fell to 28-4-1.

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