By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
The headliner in Japan is 2012 Olympic middleweight gold medalist Ryota Murata (12-1, 9 KOs) who will participate in a grudge fight with WBA 160-pound champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (36-2, 21 KOs) with his belt on the line on this coming October 22. Murata lost a highly controversial split decision to N’Dam despite dropping him in the fourth session last May, and people here greatly anticipate his victory in the forthcoming rematch. If crowned, Murata will be the very first Olympic gold medalist that acquire the professional world throne out of Japan.
Murata engaged in a public workout before many press people and photographers at the Teiken Gym on Thursday and showed he was in good shape after his strenuous training for months. Murata said, “This time I wish to finish him and win the belt. I have been preparing well and will maintain this condition until the title bout. I hear that Mr. Bob Arum will come and watch this fight and would like to show him a good performance. I’m looking forward to my fight on October 22.”
Should Murata be victorious, not only our boxing fraternity but all the athletic world in Japan will celebrate his coronation.