By Keith Idec
Ryota Murata made sure the judges weren’t a factor in the outcome of his middleweight championship rematch with Hassan N’Dam.
Five months after N’Dam came to Tokyo and won a controversial split decision against him, the Japanese star avenged his lone loss by scoring a technical knockout win against N’Dam after the seventh round Sunday in Tokyo. The 31-year-old Murata (13-1, 10 KOs) was the more aggressive, effective fighter throughout their bout and wobbled Cameroon’s N’Dam (36-3, 21 KOs) several times with right hands prior to the stoppage.
N’Dam, 33, had not lost by knockout or technical knockout in 38 professional bouts before Murata stopped him Sunday. N’Dam won a controversial split decision over Murata in their 12-round fight to win the then-vacant WBA world middleweight title May 20 at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.
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.
A Murata right hand backed N’Dam into the ropes about a minute into the sixth round. Murata affected N’Dam with two more right hands later in a sixth round he dominated.
N’Dam appeared tired as he walked back to his corner following a fifth round in which Murata landed the cleaner, more effective punches. N’Dam held after an accurate Murata tattooed him with consecutive overhand rights less than 30 seconds into the fourth round.
Murata landed a stiff jab that snapped back N’Dam’s head with about 20 seconds to go in the third round. Murata drilled N’Dam with a right uppercut about 40 seconds into the third round that left N’Dam holding.
In the second round, an aggressive Murata continued to land the harder punches that backed up N’Dam. Murata connected with another overhand right in the second round that bothered N’Dam in a corner.
Murata landed a solid overhand right that knocked N’Dam off balance with about 20 seconds to go in the first round. Murata and N’Dam began banging away at each other from close distances in the center of the ring as soon as their fight started.
From the opening bell, Murata was a different fighter than he was in their first fight five months ago.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist appeared to win that bout anyway, but two judges – Hubert Earle (115-112) and Gustavo Padilla (116-111) – scored their fight for N’Dam. Another judge, Raul Caiz Sr., scored it for Murata (117-110).
The WBA suspended Earle and Padilla for the scorecards they submitted that night.
Also on the card, Daigo Higa (14-0, 14 KOs) retained his WBC flyweight world title with a seventh round stoppage of Thomas Masson (17-4-1, 5 KOs).
In what many expected to be the fight of the night, Ken Shiro (11-0, 5 KOs) was taken to the limit and rallied down the stretch to hold on to his WBC junior flyweight, as he edged former world champion Pedro Guevara (30-3-1, 17 KOs) with a twelve round majority decision. The scores were 116-112, 115-113 for Shiro and 114-114 for the draw.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.