After Canelo Alvarez’s abdication and decision to move permanently to 168lbs, the WBA has promoted its Regular title holder Ryota Murata to Super champion status at middleweight.

The move means that Tokyo’s Murata, an Olympic Gold medallist at the London 2012 Games, is now considered the sanctioning body’s principal champion at the weight. His rival belt holders are Gennady Golovkin (IBF), Jermall Charlo (WBC) and Demetrius Andrade (WBO) though unifications at 160lbs currently appear unlikely in 2021.

A two-time WBA champion at middleweight, Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) hasn’t fought since halting Canadian Steven Butler in five rounds in Yokohama in December 2019.

“Based on rule C.18, which states that the President and the Championships Committee may recognize a fighter as a Super champion under special circumstances, the WBA considers Murata’s career and record as a meritorious circumstance for the appointment,” confirmed the WBA.

“Murata’s appointment will not generate too many changes in the rankings and it is done to give dynamism and activity to the division. The only relevant change is that Murata’s nine-month mandatory defence period will be extended to 18 months.”

The move has implications for Chris Eubank Jr. – the WBA’s current No.1 contender and Interim champion at 160lbs. 

The Brighton man should discover in due course if he will either be elevated to the position of WBA Regular champion by the sanctioning body or wait for a title shot against Murata in 2021 or even 2022 after the mandatory extension to 18 months.