Gennady Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders will soon have another world middleweight champion among its ranks.
The WBA "regular" middleweight title will be up for grabs with the announcement that Hassan N'Dam and Ryota Murata will face each other for the vacant belt in Tokyo on May 20. N'Dam, the interim middleweight champion, will vacate the title and compete for the "regular" title after it was vacated when "super" champion Gennady Golovkin defeated then-secondary champion Daniel Jacobs last month.
At the introductory press conference, Murata said, via translator, he expects the fight against N'Dam to be a tough one.
"I've started sparring already in training and it is going well," Murata said. "I originally started boxing to see how good of fighter I was. If I am able to defeat this opponent, I can confidently say that I am a good fighter. I am looking forward to this fight. Because I am a gold medalist, I have had so much support from so many people. I want to win this fight for all them as my gratitude for their support and kindness. The key for me to win is to fight with what I do well. I believe what makes my boxing style exciting is moving forward and throwing punches. We will see if this style will prevail. I expect this fight to be a tough fight. The opponent is type of fighter who can be knocked down four or six times in a fight, but take the remaining rounds on points."
N'Dam is 35-2 as a pro boxer and is riding a four-fight win streak since losing out in an opportunity to win the IBF middleweight fight against David Lemieux. Murata, a middleweight Olympic gold medalist from the 2012 Olympics, has won all 12 fights as a boxer.
The fight will main event a tripleheader of world title fights. The other fights are a WBC flyweight title bout between champion Juan Hernandez Navarrete and Daigo Higa, and a WBC junior flyweight fight between champion Ganigan Lopez and Ken Shiro.