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Ryota Murata vs. Hassan N’Dam official for May 20th in Tokyo

Daigo Higa and Kenshiro are set to appear as well

Ryota Murata v Bruno Sandoval - Non-title Bout Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

That didn’t take long.

Top contender Ryota Murata and WBA Interim Middleweight Champion Hassan N’Dam have come to terms. The two will battle for the “regular” belt on May 20th in Tokyo’s Ariake Coliseum.

Young guns Daigo Higa and Kenshiro will also make their first bids for world titles on the show, taking on WBC champions Juan Hernandez Navarrete and Ganigan Lopez, respectively.

Murata (12-0, 9 KO) has a fairly weak professional résumé, but makes up for it with Olympic gold, making him something of a foil to N’Dam (35-2, 21 KO), who left Rio empty-handed. It’s a solid, unpredictable matchup; Hell, I gave up on trying to assess N’dam fights when he got dropped six times by Peter Quillin but arguably won every round in which he stayed on his feet.

Higa (12-0, 12 KO) and Kenshiro (9-0, 5 KO) face even larger steps up. Navarrete (34-2, 25 KO) has only lost to Kazuto Ioka in the last decade and knocked out Thai prospect Nawaphon Kaikanha in his last fight, while Lopez (28-6, 17 KO) enters the ring on the heels of consecutive wins over Yu Kimura and Jonathan Taconing.

Looks like a solid night of fights. Sink or swim, do you think?

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