By: Ken Hissner
Japan’s 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Ryota Murata, 13-1 (10), lost a disputed decision in his first attempt at the WBA World Middleweight title to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, 36-2, on May 20th 2017 by split decision at the Ariake Colosseum in Japan. In the rematch he won the title stopping N’JIkam in the 7th round on October 22nd at Kokugikan, Japan. His first defense was Sunday at the Yokahama Arena promoted by Top Rank on ESPN2 easily stopping his challenger Emanuele Felice Blandamura.
Ryota Murata, 14-1 (11), of Tokyo, Japan, stopped European Middleweight champion and Ranked No. 5 Emanuele Felice Blandamura, 27-3 (5), of Roma, Lazio, Italy, at 2:56 of the 8th round in defense of the WBA World Middleweight title at the Yokohama Arena, in Japan, over 12 rounds.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round Blandamura kept moving around the ring jabbing with an occasional left hook with Murata stalking him. In the second round Murata landed a hard right to the chin of Blandamura who was standing in front of him with hands held high. Blandamura landed a double left hook while moving backwards mostly blocked by Murata. Blandamura landed a 3-punch combination to body and head of Murata.
In the third round Murata who is a slow starter starts opening up more landing a left hook to the body and right to the head of Blandamura. Murata landed a solid right to the chin of Blandamura. Referee Raul Caiz, Jr. warned Murata for hitting behind the head. Murata went on the attack after this with solid punching right hand to the head of Blandamura. In the fourth round Murata landed several right hands to the head of Blandamura who tried countering but Murata blocked those punches. The light punching Bladamura is landing jabs and left hooks that have no effect on Murata. Murata landed two right hands to the chin of Blandamura. Murata got another warning from referee Caiz for hitting behind the head.
In the fifth round Blandamura landed a 3-punch combination to head and body of Murata. Murata received yet another warning for pushing the head of Blandamura down. Murata lined up a right to the head of Blandamura who came right back with a double left hook to body and head. Murata warned by referee Caiz for pushing. Murata backed Blandamura into the ropes where Murata is most successful landing rights to the head of Blandamura. In the sixth round a right to the ribs from Murata hurt Blandamura. Murata landed a double left hook to the body and head. A straight right to the chin of Blandamura spun him around as he was hurt. A chopping right from Murata on the chin of Blandamura got his attention. The 38 year-old Blandamura is slowing down afoot.
In the seventh round the 32 year-old Murata continued to stalk and land right hand after right hand to the head of Blandamura. Murata landed a stiff right to the head ob Blandamura followed by a left hook to the body. In the eighth round Murata landed a pair of rights to the head of Blandamura who fired back of a right of his own to the head of Murata. Murata landed a solid left hook to the body of Blandamura. Murata landed five unanswered punches to the head of Blandamura. He chased the running Blandamura before catching him with a terrific right to the head of Murata on the head of Blandamura knocking him to the canvas. Referee Caiz started counting and wisely waved it off before finishing the count.
After losing the first two rounds Murata started the beginning of the end for Blandamura by the eighth round. The audience was so polite they even clapped for the Italian anthem something that would never happen in the US.
WBC World Flyweight champion Daigo Higa, 15-1 (15), of Tokyo, Japan, failed to make weight and was stopped 1:42 of the 9th round to WBC International champion Cristofer Rosales, 27-3 (18), of Managua, Nicaragua, in a scheduled 12.
Flyweight southpaw Junto Nakatani, 15-0 (11), of Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan, well ahead defeated Mario Andrade, 13-7-5 (3), Mexico City, MEX, by TD8 in a scheduled 10.