Hassan N’Dam vs. Ryota Murata – Results
By Jim Dower: In something of a surprise, #1 WBA Hassan N’Dam (34-2, 21 KOs) defeated previously unbeaten #2 WBA Ryota Murata (12-1, 9 KOs) by a controversial 12 round split decision on Saturday night to capture the vacant WBA World middleweight title at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan. The judges scored the fight 116-111, 115-112 for N’Dam, and 117-110 for Ryota.
Boxing News 24 had Murata winning the fight 117-110. We gave Murata the win 9 rounds to 3. N’Dam appeared to do a little bit more than Murata in the first three rounds. However, from the 4th round on, Murata dominated the action with his heavy power shots to the head of the 33-year-old N’Dam.
2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata hurt N’Dam in rounds 7 and 8 with big power shots that staggered him. Murata nailed N’Dam with a big right hand that sent him flying against the ropes in the 7th. The ropes held N’Dam up from falling. The referee could have scored that as a knockdown. It looked like the ropes held N’Dam up from hitting the canvas.
N’Dam used a lot of movement in the second half of the fight to keep out of range of Murata, but he wasn’t able to land anything significant. Murata was landing the harder blows each time he caught up with him. N’Dam was connecting with jabs to the head of Murata, and occasionally he would tag him with big shots. However, Murata took the blows well and was able to come back with big power shots in each case.
N’Dam showed great recuperative powers in coming back each time he was hurt by Murata. This is a trait that N’Dam has shown in his past fights in getting hurt and knocked down repeatedly in his losses to David Lemieux and Peter Quillin. N’Dam was able to get up each time and come back from the knockdowns to win rounds in both of those fights. It’s an uncanny ability that N’Dam with the way he shakes off the knockdowns and just keeps fighting hard. N’Dam was knocked down 4 times by Lemieux in losing a 12 round unanimous decision in June 2015.
Even with the knockdowns, N’Dam lost by the fairly close scores of 115-109, 115-109 and 114-110. You would expect N’Dam to have lost by wider scores than that given how many times he was dropped by Lemieux. In N’Dam’s 12 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Peter Quillin in 2012, N’Dam was knocked down 6 times in that fight.
N’Dam was able to get back to his feet and win many of the rounds. The judges scored it 115-107, 115-107 and 115-107. I gave N’Dam every round that he wasn’t knocked down. Tonight though, N’Dam appeared to be totally dominated by Murata from the 4th round. It wasn’t a case of N’Dam’s boxing ability being too much for Murata. This was a fairly cut and dried fight with the Japanese fighter having too much power for N’Dam.
The two judges that scored the fight for N’Dam had to be looking at the pesky jabs that N’Dam was throwing for them to have given the victory to him instead of Murata. To be sure, N’Dam was throwing a lot of jabs, but they were mostly being picked off on the gloves of Murata all night long. When N’Dam would land some shots, Murata would smile at him, as if to say, ‘I’m not bothered by your punches.’ Murata would then keep coming forward and landing big shots.
Overall, Murata fought extremely well throughout the fight. I thought for certain that Murata would be given the victory. I’m not sure what the judges were watching to give the win to N’Dam. Perhaps they liked the way he was boxing and jabbing. But if the idea was to give the victory to the fighter that landed the cleaner, harder shots, the judges gave the ‘W’ to the wrong fighter.
With the win, N”Dam is now the WBA World middleweight champion. N’Dam has the WBA belt that was previously held by Daniel Jacobs, who lost his title last March in a 12 round unanimous decision to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The reason Jacobs’ title didn’t go to Golovkin is because he was already the World Boxing Association Super World middleweight champion. The WBA has 2 champions at middleweight instead of just one.
The WBA World championship belt is the lower level champion, while the WBA Super World champion is the upper level champion. The WBA will eventually order Golovkin to face N’Dam like they did with them ordering the Kazakhstan fighter to face Jacobs. Ideally, it would be better for the boxing fans for the WBA to consolidate the titles into one so that the fans aren’t confused at who the real champion is at middleweight. It loses its meaning to be a champion when there is more than one champion in a weight class.
Murata reminded me a lot tonight of a taller version of Golovkin but with not quite as much power. Murata was pressuring N’Dam like Golovkin all night long, and nailing him with beautiful power shots that would have knocked out many of the top fighters in the 160 pound division. Murata’s punching power is first rate. He was connecting with some devastating shots. N’Dam took the shots but he offered up nothing in return other than jabs.
WBA president Gilberto J. Mendoza had this to say about the Murata vs. N’Dam results on his social media site:
”Champ, I feel embarrassed when this happens. We spend a lot of time in training and certification.”
Mendoza was responding to a Tweet from former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli, who said, “How can judges see the fight so different?”
The judges that scored the fight for N’Dam obviously liked the way he was boxing, jabbing and moving around the ring. N’Dam looked very good at times, I must admit. N’Dam is a very sharp fighter that is joy to watch. However, Murata looked so much better tonight with the way he was walking N’Dam down, and hitting him with big shots to the head that shook him to his boots. I thought Murata was by far the better fighter, but I’m not a judge.