WBA chief demands rematch ‘to repair damage’ after Hassan N’Dam wins controversial decision over Ryota Murata

The head of the World Boxing Association (WBA) has demanded a rematch after Frenchman Hassan N’Dam won the middleweight title on a controversial split decision over Japan’s Ryota Murata.

French champion Hassan N'Dam celebrates his win as Japanese challenger Ryota Murata, right, returns to his corner after their WBA middleweight boxing world title match in Tokyo, Saturday, May 20, 2017. Toru Takahashi / AP Photo
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TOKYO // The head of the World Boxing Association (WBA) has demanded a rematch after Frenchman Hassan N’Dam won the middleweight title on a controversial split decision over Japan’s Ryota Murata.

N’Dam took the vacant world title in Tokyo on Saturday despite being knocked down by the 2012 Olympic champion Murata and taking punishment for much of the fight.

WBA president Gilberto Mendoza took to Twitter on Sunday to voice his disdain, writing: “After judging the bout my scorecard is 117-110 for Murata.”

“First of all, let me apologise to Ryota Murata... and all Japanese boxing fans. There are no words to repair the damage.

“I will demand the championship committee to order a direct rematch.”

#Boxing #MurataNDam After judging the bout my scorecard is 117-110 for Murata. 2/5 pic.twitter.com/TsnalDaLnM

Two judges scored in favour of N’Dam, one by 116-111 and the other by 115-112, triggering boos from the Japanese crowd. The other judge gave the fight to Murata 117-110.

“I feel angry and frustrated for not being able to serve the sport with the right decisions,” tweeted Mendoza. “I am disappointed with the controversy. My goal is to have clear decisions and prove transparency to all boxing fans.”

Murata appeared to dominate the fight, flooring N’Dam with a right hook in the fourth round and wobbling him on several other occasions.

N’Dam sank to his knees as the scores were announced and afterwards claimed he had deserved to win.

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“I thought I won more rounds than him,” said the Cameroon-born Frenchman. “Even after I was knocked down I stuck to my game plan.”

Murata, hoping to become only Japan’s second middleweight world champion, and first in 22 years, refused to make excuses after a first defeat in 13 professional fights, but insisted: “He didn’t hit me with a single punch that hurt me.”

Akihiko Honda, president of Murata’s Teiken Gym, made no attempt to hide his contempt for the contentious decision that saw N’Dam improve his record to 36-2.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “Our fight went perfectly to plan. It’s the worst judging decision I’ve ever seen. There’s no way that was a defeat.”

* Agence France-Presse

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