The rematch between WBA (regular) middleweight champion Hassan N’Dam N’jikam (36-2, 21 KOs), of France, and No. 1 contender Ryōta Murata (12-1, 9 KOs), of Japan, will be televised live to the U.S. from Tokyo, on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, Sunday, October 22, at 7:00 a.m. ET.
In their previous battle, which took place on May 20, also in Tokyo, N’Dam claimed the vacant world title via a controversial split decision despite getting knocked down in the fourth round and being out-boxed throughout the fight. The decision was considered questionable, leading the WBA to suspend the two judges — Gustavo Padilla of Panama and Canada’s Hubert Earle, who handed in the scorecards – for six months. The WBA also ordered an immediate rematch.
Murata captured the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division at the 2012 Olympics held in London. It was the first gold medal won by a Japanese boxer since Takao Sakurai in 1964, and also is the first-ever boxing medal in a weight class other than bantamweight or flyweight. Murata also became the 100th gold medalist in Japanese Olympic history. Five of Murata’s last six victories have come by way of knockout.