Japan’s Olympic Boxing Champ Murata Ends Pro Career

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ryota Murata announces his retirement at a press conference on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Ryota Murata, the first Japanese boxer to win Olympic gold and a world title, announced his retirement on Tuesday at a press conference in Tokyo.

“Winning the [Olympic] gold medal was a starting point, becoming a world champion was a starting point,” Murata said. “I regard everything as a new beginning. As such, today is a new start. From here on, I want to build a solid future.”

The 37-year-old Murata, who finished his pro career with a 16-3 record with 13 knockouts, made Japanese sports history at the 2012 London Olympics when he won the gold medal in middleweight division.

The Nara Prefecture native made his professional debut as a middleweight the following year, and in 2017, won the World Boxing Association’s world title with a victory in Tokyo over France’s Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. He lost the title to Rob Brant of the United States in Las Vegas in October 2018, but regained it in a rematch in Osaka in July 2019.

In April last year, Murata fought for the unified middleweight title but lost to reigning IBF champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan in Saitama. That would be Murata’s last fight as a pro.