By Michael Shepherd – Japan’s Ryota Murata (13-1, 10 KOs) beat champion Hassan N’Dam (36-3, 21 KOs) by technical knockout on Sunday to capture the WBA middleweight title.
Five months after N’Dam won a very controversial split decision against Murata in their first encounter. two of the judges were suspended for six months after the result while WBA president Gilberto Mendoza apologized to Murata, saying there were “no words to repair the damage”.
N’Dam started the sharper of the two on Sunday as he looked to pick his shots.
The former WBO champion’s gold gloves frequently found Murata’s chin in the early exchanges, but after a slow start, Murata wobbled the Cameroon-born champion with a right hook in the fourth, and another big right in the sixth triggered sustained pressure which looked to take its toll on N’Dam.
Murata started to land the more precise and effective punches in the fifth. He landed a right hand that backed N’Dam into the ropes about a minute into the sixth round. Murata damaged N’Dam with two more right hands later in a sixth-round that he dominated.
A completely one-sided seventh-round convinced N’Dam that he shouldn’t continue in a fight Murata was winning easily at Ryogoku Sumo Hall.
Murata improved his professional record to 13-1 and became only the second Japanese to win a world middleweight title after Shinji Takehara in 1995
N’Dam slipped to 36-3 with his defeat.
“After the first couple of rounds, I had no more strength left,” said the 33-year-old N’Dam, who asked his trainer to untape his gloves after being caught with more stinging blows in the seventh round.
“I had nothing left in my arms, nothing in my legs.”
“I wanted to continue but my team decided that it wasn’t worth taking more punches,” he added.
“Murata put me under more pressure than last time and threw more punches. I congratulate him and hope we can fight a third time.”
“I’m not crying,” joked Murata after bursting into tears on seeing the referee wave the fight over
“I was surprised at the way the fight finished but I knew he was feeling the pace and wanted to finish the job quickly,” added the 31-year-old, proudly cradling the WBA “regular” world belt.
“We were both pretty tired so it’s a bit lucky he stopped. But there was no way I was going to lose that fight.”
Gennady Golovkin remains the association’s “super” champion and also holds the WBC, IBF and IBO titles.
“Boxing lovers will know there’s a stronger middleweight champion than me out there,” said Murata, referring to the unbeaten Kazakh. “I’ll try my best to beat him.”