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Boxing | International

Murata, Hassan meet for vacant title



The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata from Japan takes on the French-based Cameroonian Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam for the vacant WBA regular middleweight belt at the Ariake Colosseum in Japan on Saturday.

The 33-year-old N’Dam 35-2-1; 21 has been fighting as a pro since December 2004 and has won a WBA International middleweight title and also WBO and WBA interim belts.

He has scored victories against good fighters like Avtandil Khurtsidze, Giovanni Lorenzo, Max Bursak, Fulgencio Zuniga, Curtis Stevens and Alfonso Blanco.

The two losses on his record have come against Peter Quillin and David Lemieux, with both fights going the distance.

N'Dam was also an outstanding amateur and competed in the 2004 and 2016 Olympics.

Murata, 31, who has a record of 12-0; 9, is a tough competitor with incredible physical strength and could have the edge on the more experienced N’Dam.

VETERAN LOPEZ DEFENDS AGAINST SHIRO

On the same card veteran southpaw Ganigan Lopez 28-6; 17 from Mexico defends his WBC featherweight belt against Japan’s Ken Shiro 9-0; 5.

The 35-year-old Lopez, a 14-year pro, is far more experienced than the relative novice Shiro, 25, who has only had 55 rounds of boxing since joining the professional ranks in August 2014.

Even though Shiro is a talented boxer-mover he has a huge task against the veteran Lopez, who is considered old for a light-flyweight.

NAVARETTE MAKES FIRST DEFENCE OF WBC FLYWEIGHT BELT

Also on the card Juan Hernandez Navarette 34-2; 25 of Mexico makes the first defence of his WBC flyweight belt that he won less than three months ago with a third round stoppage over Nawaphon Kaikanha in a clash for the vacant belt, when he takes on Japan’s Daigo Higa 12-0; 12.

This is a tough mandatory defence for the 30-year-old champion who has won his last 16 fights when he takes on the 21-year-old Japanese sensation who has won all his fights inside the distance with only 42 rounds of boxing since making his debut in June 2014.

TANAKA DEFENDS AGINST HARD-HITTING ACOSTA

Also on Saturday at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya City, Japan, 21-year-old Japanese youngster Kosei Tanaka 8-0; 5 defends his WBO light-flyweight belt against the hard-hitting Puerto Rican Angel Acosta 16-0; 16.

Tanaka won the vacant WBO minimumweight belt in his fifth fight when he outpointed Julian Yedras (24-1) over 12 rounds, and after making one successful defence he moved up to the light-flyweight division in December 2016 and stopped Moises Fuentes (24-2-1) in the fifth round to win the vacant WBO belt

The 22-year-old Acosta will be having his first crack at a world title and is coming off a tenth-round stoppage win over Japhet Uutoni in a world title eliminator.

This is an intriguing match-up between two big bangers with the champion possibly having the edge.



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