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Ryota Murata was ordered to defend his secondary middleweight world title against Robert Brant on Tuesday. The WBA sent letters to Teiken Boxing’s Akihiko Honda, Murata’s promoter, and Greg Cohen, Brant’s promoter, telling them to begin negotiating the fight. They have until July 15 to make a deal and if no agreement is reached a purse bid will be ordered with a split of 50 percent of the winning bid going to each fighter. Murata (14-1, 11 KOs), 32, of Japan, will be making his second title defense. Brant (23-1, 16 KOs), 27, of Saint Paul, Minnesota, moved up to super middleweight to participate in the World Boxing Super Series tournament and lost a decision to Juergen Braehmer in the quarterfinals in October but returned to middleweight for a first-round knockout of journeyman Colby Courter in March.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer132d ago