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Hassan N’Dam vs. Ryota Murata – Weights

Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam Ryota Murata

By Allan Fox: WBA World middleweight champion Hassan N’Dam (36-2, 21 KOs) weighed in at 159 ¾ pounds for his rematch this Sunday on October 22 against #1 WBA rated contender Ryota Murata (12-1, 8 KOs) at the Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. Ryota came in at 158 ½ lbs.

(Photo credit: Rishad Marquardt)

N’Dam, 33, beat Murata by a questionable 12 round split decision earlier this year on May 20 in their first fight for the vacant WBA 160 lb. title at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan. The judges scored the N’Dam-Murata fight 116-111, 115-112 for N’Dam, and 117-111 for Murta. Boxing News 24 scored it for Murata 117-111. It looked like a clear win for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata, as he landed the much harder and cleaner-landing punches in the fight.

The judges Gustavo Padilla and Hubert Earle seemed to be more impressed with the N’Dam did do a good job of boxing Murata, but he was taking big shots from the Japanese fighter throughout the contest. It was difficult to ignore the solid punches that Murata was landing in the fight. He never really hurt N’Dam, but he caught him a lot with his power shots.

Fortunately for Murata, the World Boxing Association ordered a rematch with N’Dam. It would have been a huge disappointment if N’Dam would have gone in another direction and defended his title against one of the other contenders.

N’Dam vs. Murata 2 will be televised live in the United States this Sunday on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, starting at 7:00 A.M. ET/4:00 A.M. PT. That’s not an exciting time for most boxing fans in the U.S to be getting up to watch a fight on a Sunday, so it’s likely that it won’t be seen by a lot of fans.
Murata will need to jump on N’Dam and look to knock him down or possibly stop him if he wants to make sure he can get the victory. N’Dam has a way of winning rounds with his boxing ability.

We saw that in N’Dam’s losses to David Lemieux and Peter Quillin. N’Dam was knocked down 6 times by Quillin in their fight in 2012, and 4 times in his loss to Lemieux in June 2015. Despite getting knocked down numerous times in both of those fights, N’Dam could make those fights reasonably close. When N’Dam wasn’t getting knocked down, he was winning rounds. The France-based N’Dam is one of those types of fighters that knows how to win rounds based on his superb boxing ability. That’s obviously what the 2 judges liked about him in giving him the victory over Murata last May.

If the judges are going to focus just on which fighter has the great ring generalship, they’re likely going to give N’Dam another victory, because he’s clearly the better boxer of the two. Murata is more of a heavy-handed guy than anything. Murata hits hard, but he struggles with the skills of N’Dam. That’s why it would be in Murata’s best interest to go after N’Dam hard on Sunday night to try and knock him out so that the judges don’t take the fight away from him again.

Murata will have the home advantage like last time. You can bet that the close rounds may go in Murata’s favor this time around due the controversy from their previous fight. Murata is still going to need to do a better job of cutting off the ring and getting past N’Dam’s jabs. Murata was eating a lot of jabs from N’Dam, and that made it tough to give him rounds where he was getting out-boxed.

Murata and N’Dam would have a lot of problems against the lions of the middleweight division. I can’t picture N’Dam and Murata beating Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, David Lemieux, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs, or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Murata and N’Dam are both good fighters, but they seem to be lacking in too many areas of their game for them to beat those type of guys. N’Dam is seen as a paper champion in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Golovkin holds the WBA Super World title, whereas N’Dam’s belt is the WBA World title. It’s a junior belt rather than the real thing.

The WBA needs to get rid N’Dam’s unnecessary title and just go with one champion per division. It’s crazy for there to be 2 champions at middleweight for the WBA. It’s bad enough that there are 4 sanctioning bodies with their own respective titles for each division. But when you have sanctioning bodies like the WBA with 2 champions in the same weight class, it makes a mess of things by devaluing the titles.

The loser of the N’Dam vs. Murata fight will need to find a way back up the rankings. It’s going to be tough on them, especially if they’re forced to fight a good contender like Jacobs, Derevyanchenko, Lemieux or Charlo. Murata was lucky that he’s been fast tracked since turning pro in 2013. The 31-year-old Murata hasn’t had to fight anyone good to earn his No.1 ranking with the WBA, and he certainly hasn’t fought anyone remotely talented other than N’Dam.

These are the best fighters that Murata has fought during his short career:

• Hassan N’Dam

• George Tahdooahnippah

• Bruno Sandoval

• Jessie Nicklow

• Gunnar Jackson

Just based on Murata’s resume, he shouldn’t be ranked No.1 with the WBA. Murata’s weak resume suggests that he should be ranked near the bottom of the WBA. That’s one of the problems the sanctioning bodies like the WBA have. They don’t force fighters to face quality opposition in order to get ranked. So instead of seeing guys that have earned their No.1 ranking, you get fighters like Murata, who arguably was given his ranking based on what he did as an amateur in winning a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics rather than what he’s done as a pro. Murata has done precious little at pro. Murata’s gold medal victory in the 2012 Olympics was a controversial one, as he beat Esquiva Falcao (Brazil) by a controversial 14-13 score in the finals. Murata’s victory over Abbos Atoev (Uzbekistan) in the semifinals was also very questionable with him winning that fight by a 13-12 score.

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