Top Middleweight contender Ryota Murata scored a dominant seventh round TKO over former WBO Middleweight world champion Hassan N’Dam on Sunday night (In Japan, Sunday morning in the United States) at the Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan. In what was a rematch of a fight that ended in a controversial split decision that was won by N’Dam in May of this year, this time Murata left no doubts.
In short, the fight can be summed up by simply stating that Murata applied consistent pressure on N’Dam implementing a well-balanced attack to the body and head of the former world champion. Although N’Dam attempted numerous times throughout the fight to land short combinations on Murata, Murata was able to effectively block much of N’Dam’s offense by using a high defensive guard and deflecting punches either with his arms or his gloves.
In contrast to the first fight where he spent much of the early rounds stalking N’Dam and not letting his hands go consistently, Murata started his offense from the opening bell and implemented a systematic approach in his attack of N’Dam. Minute by minute and round by round it was Murata who landed the more effective punches and gradually wore N’Dam down. Although he was not able to score a knockdown of N’Dam as he had in the first encounter, Murata’s body head attack eventually took a toll on N’Dam and after seven rounds N’Dam’s corner informed Referee Kenny Bayless that they had seen enough resulting in the fight being stopped.
Ryota Murata advances to 13-1, with 10 Knockouts. Hassan N’Dam falls to 36-3, with 21 Knockouts.
In other bouts:
Undefeated WBC Light-Flyweight world champion Ken Shiro successfully made the first defense of his world championship by scoring a twelve round majority decision over former WBC Light-Flyweight world champion Pedro Guevara. Official scores were: 114-114 (Even), and 116-112, 115-113 in favor of Shiro. Ken Shiro advances to 11-0, with 5 Knockouts. Pedro Guevara falls to 30-3-1, with 17 Knockouts.
Undefeated WBC Flyweight world champion Diago Higa successfully made his first defense of his world championship by scoring a seventh round TKO over Thomas Masson. Official time of the stoppage was 1:10 of round seven. Diago Higa advances to 14-0, with 14 Knockouts. Thomas Masson falls to 17-4-1, with 5 Knockouts.
Undefeated Super-Middleweight Louis Toutin UD4 over Ruslan Schelev. Official scores: 40-36, and 39-37 (On two scorecards) all for Toutin. Louis Toutin advances to 8-0, with 7 Knockouts. Ruslan Schelev falls to 13-8-1, with 7 Knockouts.
Undefeated Featherweight Yasuhiro Okada UD4 over Seiya Yamaguchi. Official scores: 39-37, and 40-36 (On two scorecards) all for Olada. Yasuhiro Okada advances to 2-0, with 1 Knockout. Seiya Yamaguchi falls to 1-1-1, with 0 Knockouts.
Light-Flyweight Yuta Kono UD4 over Retsu Matsuda. Official scores: 39-38, and 39-37 (On two scorecards) all for Kono. Yuta Kono advances to 2-3, with 0 Knockouts. Retsu Matsuda falls to 2-3, with 1 Knockout.
Undefeated Bantamweight Ryuto Owan UD6 over Alvin Medura. Official scores: 60-53 (On all three scorecards) all for Owan. Ryuto Owan advances to 3-0, with 2 Knockouts. Alvin Medura falls to 5-2, with 5 Knockouts.
Bantamweight Haruki Kudo UD4 over Naochika Kan. Official scores: 40-37, 39-37 (On two scorecards) all for Kudo. Haruki Kudo advances to 1-1, with 0 Knockouts. Naocohika Kan falls to 0-2, with 0 Knockouts.
Ryota Murata’s victory in his rematch with Hassan N’Dam earned him interim/regular champion status in the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Middleweight ratings. A designation makes Murata the WBA’s number one mandatory challenger for current undefeated unified WBA/IBO/IBF/WBC Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin. Although the WBA has been trying to gradually do away with interim/regular championship designations for their number one contenders throughout the entire sport, one would assume that as has been the case for many years that Murata will have to wait a period of time while competing to maintain his designation before getting his opportunity to fight whomever the WBA world champion might be. In terms of the immediate future, Golovkin appears to be heading toward an immediate rematch with former two-division world champion Saul Alvarez.
If and when that rematch takes place it will be interesting to see if the World Boxing Association will mandate that the winner of the second encounter between Golovkin and Alvarez to fight Murata in their next bout. This of course, is just one piece of the puzzle that comprises the very active and talent deep 160lb. Middleweight division. With some key Middleweight bouts still to take place in 2017, it will be of equal interest to see if those bouts will impact any potential options Ryota Murata might have as 2018 approaches.
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