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Ryota Murata vs. Bruno Sandoval – Results

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By Jim Dower: Undefeated #3 WBO middleweight contender Ryota Murata (12-0, 9 KOs) made short work of an over-matched Bruno Sandoval (19-2-1, 15 KOs), stopping him in round 3 on Friday night at the Ariake Colosseum, in Tokyo, Japan.

Murata, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Japan, dropped Sandoval with a beautiful chopping right hand to the head in the 3rd round. The badly hurt Sandoval attempted to get back to his feet on three occasions, but fell down each time.

The referee Yuji Fukuchi tried to help Sandoval to his feet, but he still collapsed. After all that, the referee still took the time to give Sandoval a 10 count. The referee probably should have stopped the fight outright given how hurt Sandoval was. It was clear that Sandoval was not going to be able to get back up and continue fighting.

The 25-year-old Sandoval was able to give Murata very little resistance in the fight due to his lack of punching power. This was an example of Murata’s management choosing an opponent that was tailor-made for him to beat, because he didn’t need to worry about getting hurt by the Mexican fighter due to his weak shots throughout the fight.

In round 1, Murata telegraphed his right hands in throwing them from a long ways away to the head of Sandoval. #3 WBA, #3 WBO, #4 IBF, #5 WBC Murata had a habit of measuring Sandoval with his left hand holding way out in front of him to gauge the distance before throwing his fights to the head or body.


Normally this kind of tactic doesn’t work against better fighters, because as soon as a fighter tries that technique, they get nailed to the head. Sandoval didn’t have the training in how to take advantage of the flaws in Murata’s style, and believe me, there were a lot of flaws there. The round was one-sided with very little return fire from Sandoval.

In the 2nd round, Murata landed a number of huge right hands to the head of Sandoval. The 6’0” Murata backed Sandoval up against the ropes late in the fight and was chopping down at him again and again. The shorts were landing because of Sandoval’s nonexistent defense. In the entire round, Sandoval maybe landed 10 punches. The remainder of the round saw Murata hitting him with a lot of heavy shots.

By the end of the round, it was clear that the fight wasn’t going to go much longer, considering that Sandoval wasn’t throwing enough shots to keep Murata honest. Murata wasn’t even bothering to try and defend himself in any real way by the 2nd round, because he knew Sandoval had nothing to hurt him with. It was great match-making by Murata’s promoters to find someone with no power to showcase his skills against, but the fight didn’t prove that Murata will be able to compete with the better fighters in the division like Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

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In round 3, Murata backed Sandoval up against the ropes and hurt him with a right hand to the head. Murata then followed up with another huge right hand that dropped Sandoval on the canvas. The rest was history. Sandoval tried to get up on three separate occasions and each time, he couldn’t do it. The referee actually picked Sandoval up the first time, and he fell back down.

Murata tried to steady Sandoval on the third occasion after he made it to his feet, but he still fell back down. What was interesting was how Murata was celebrating pretty much the entire time that Sandoval was trying to get up. The fight wasn’t even over officially, and yet Murata was celebrating as if the fight had been halted by the referee. It hadn’t, because the referee appeared to want to actually count Sandoval out for some reason rather than just stopping the fight the way referees normally do when a fighter is badly hurt the way Sandoval was. It’s a mystery why the referee didn’t halt the fight, because Sandoval was in no condition to continue after he was flattened.

Sandoval showed really technique in landing some beautiful shots in the fight. There was nothing wrong with his training. The problem that Sandoval had was on offense. He couldn’t come up with enough punching power to make a fight of it. If Sandoval had more punching power, then he could have forced Murata to fight a much different fight. If Murata had still insisted on telegraphing his shots, then he’d have gotten knocked out. But he wasn’t going to get hurt by Sandoval, because the guy had no power to speak of.

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Murata looks like a decent fighter, but not someone that is going to be able to compete against the likes of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, Saul Canelo Alvarez or Danny Jacobs. Murata might be good enough to beat Billy Joe Saunders if he can get to him before Canelo or Golovkin does, but it doesn’t matter. Murata doesn’t look like he would ever be able to compete against either of those fighters.

The 30-year-old Murata needs to be matched against better opposition than this if he wants to progress to the next level. Murata will be turning 31 on January 12 next month, and he needs to start cutting his teeth against actual contenders at this point in his career. If the idea is to try and turn Murata into a world champion someday, then he needs to be match against some of the contenders like Curtis Stevens, David Lemieux, Tureano Johnson, Willie Monroe Jr., Avtandil Khurtsidze, Chris Eubank Jr., or Sergey Derevyanchenko.

If Murata can’t beat those type of guys, then at least his management will know that he doesn’t have the kind of talent to take him to the next level. They can then think of either looking for a cash out fight or cutting their losses and moving on. Murata isn’t young enough to wait out Golovkin until he gets old before fighting him. Golovkin looks like he would always be able to beat a guy in Murata’s class no matter how old he is.

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