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Boxer D'Nam to face Murata in WBA title rematch

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Tokyo (AFP)

Hassan N'Dam will face London Olympic gold medallist Ryota Murata in a WBA middleweight title rematch after the Frenchman's controversial victory, the Japanese fighter?s gym said Thursday.

The fight is scheduled for October 22 in Tokyo, nearly five months after N'Dam took the vacant world title despite being knocked down by Murata and suffering heavy punishment for much of their May 20 bout in the Japanese capital.

The World Boxing Association (WBA) suspended two judges for six months over their decision and ordered the rematch.

After the shock result was declared, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza ordered a rematch and tweeted: "Let me apologise to Ryota Murata. There are no words to repair the damage. I will demand the championship committee order a direct rematch."

Through a statement issued via his gym, Murata pledged to claim the belt and said the experience of the earlier bout had only sharpened his fighting.

But he also said he respected D'Nam as an experienced fighter and that the two were friends.

"A key point in our last bout for me was that I couldn't go all the way when opportunities presented themselves," he said.

"One thing I can say about the last fight was that there was no belt for me. I will go get the belt this time.

"Fans are waiting for a complete decision. I think if I win this fight, I will get bigger fights and bigger opportunities," he said.

In the same statement, D'Nam said he has already put the controversial win behind him and is looking forward to the rematch against Murata, whom he described as a fighter on the rise.

Murata, 31, has a record of 12 wins, nine of them by knockouts, against one loss.

N'Dam, 33, has won 36 bouts, 21 of them by knockouts, against two losses.

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