Rob Brant’s most recent ring performance so impressed Top Rank promoter Bob Arum that on Tuesday he signed him to a multiyear co-promotional deal.
Along with Greg Cohen and Rapacz Boxing, Top Rank will promote Brant, who will fight on Top Rank’s ESPN cards.
On Oct. 20, in Las Vegas, Brant shut down Japanese star Ryota Murata to win a secondary middleweight world title by lopsided unanimous decision — 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110 — in a Top Rank on ESPN+ main event.
Brant overwhelmed Murata, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, with his punch output, throwing an astonishing 1,262 punches in the fight.
“I am very excited to be a part of one of the oldest and most prestigious promotions in the sport of boxing,” Brant said. “I look forward to reaching my maximum potential and maintaining my status as a world champion under Top Rank. This is a dream come true, and I will not take this opportunity for granted.”
“We are delighted to have entered into a co-promotion agreement with Greg Cohen Promotions and Rapacz Boxing to exhibit future fights for middleweight champion Rob Brant,” Arum said. “Rob is a tremendous talent. He comes with very high character, and he will be a future superstar in the United States.”
Although Brant’s first fight under the new deal has not been set, he is slated to return to defend his 160-pound belt in mid-February. Murata has the right to an immediate rematch but he is not expected to exercise his option.
“He might be a little discouraged right now,” Brant said of Murata. “I’m not saying he won’t be able to come back, but I don’t think he wants it right now. I’ll just go on to bigger and better in the division. Once you win a title, there are no more easy fights. Until you are the undisputed king, you’re always taking steps up in class in every fight.”
Brant (24-1, 16 KOs), 28, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, fighting out of Dallas, was an elite amateur, winning gold medals at the 2009 U.S. National Championships and 2010 National Golden Gloves Championships before turning pro in 2012. He suffered his only defeat in October 2017, when he lost a decision to former light heavyweight world titleholder Juergen Braehmer in Germany. Braehmer had moved down in weight and Brant moved up in weight for the fight in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.
But following the defeat, Brant returned to his more natural middleweight division, won a tuneup fight in March and then took it to Murata for the mild upset.
“I couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with Top Rank,” Cohen said. “They are the gold standard in our business, and with the platform that ESPN provides, Rob Brant will become a household name. We can’t wait to get started.”
Cory Rapacz of Rapacz Boxing reflected on the long road Brant has taken to get to the recognition he has received since the victory over Murata.
“For years, as Rob developed in Minnesota, we always believed he has had the necessary intangibles to become one of the top names in this sport,” Rapacz said. “His performance on Oct. 20 against Murata showed he has world-class talent, and now we’re confident this new partnership with the sport’s biggest platform, Top Rank on ESPN, will give him the opportunity to reach the highest levels of stardom. This is a fantastic deal for everyone involved.”
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn was also chasing Brant to bring him to sports streaming service DAZN, where Hearn has a long-term deal. Top middleweights such as unified champion Canelo Alvarez, world titlist Demetrius Andrade and former titlist David Lemieux are tied to DAZN, meaning those bouts are unlikely for Brant, at least through the term of his deal with Top Rank.
Former unified champion Gennady Golovkin and titleholder Daniel Jacobs are broadcast free agents and in talks with various suitors, including Top Rank, for new deals.