Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dan Rafael [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Murata, Linares, Frampton fights set

By Dan Rafael

A couple of notes from the boxing world:

• On Sunday in Tokyo, 27-year-old Ryota Murata, the heralded 2012 Olympic middleweight gold medalist from Japan, will make his pro debut. Murata will headline the card at the Ariake Coliseum in a scheduled six-rounder against Akio Shibata (21-7-1, 9 KOs), who holds the OPBF middleweight title, which is one of Asia’s most traditional regional belts. Murata recently signed a co-promotional deal with Akihiko Honda’s Teiken Boxing and Top Rank, which has plans for him to fight in the United States next year. Top Rank’s Bob Arum made the trip to Japan to attend Murata’s debut.

Also on the card is former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Jorge Linares (33-3, 21 KOs), who faces Berman Sanchez (26-5-3, 18 KOs) of Nicaragua in a 10-round lightweight contest. Linares, who is from Venezuela, has made Japan his second home for years. He has won two fights in a row since disastrous knockout losses to Antonio DeMarco for a vacant lightweight belt in 2011 and Sergio Thompson in a March 2012 title eliminator.

• European junior featherweight champion Carl Frampton (16-0, 11 KOs), a rising talent in the 122-pound division, will defend his belt against Jeremy Parodi (35-1-1, 9 KOs) of France on Oct. 19 (BoxNation in the U.K.). The fight will take place at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Frampton’s hometown. Frampton is closing in on a mandatory world title shot at the belt that Spain’s Kiko Martinez won Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J., by stopping Jhonatan Romero in the sixth round of an upset. Two fights before winning the title, Martinez (29-4, 21 KOs) was knocked out by Frampton in the ninth round. If Frampton becomes the mandatory, a rematch would be in the cards.