Top Rank’s partnership with ESPN will give American fans access to a quality fight from overseas, as ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will show the rematch between WBA “regular” middleweight champ Hassan N’Dam and former Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata.
Murata (12-1, 9 KO) appeared to defeat N’Dam (36-2, 21 KO) handily when they fought in May, dropping him in the fourth round, but two judges gave the fight to N’Dam. The decision was so egregious that WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza suspended said judges, Gustavo Padilla and Hubert Earle for six months.
The announcement does not mention the other two title fights on the card, Kenshiro vs. Pedro Guevara and Daigo Higa vs. Thomas Massone, which is a bit of a shame. Higa is must-watch television at the age of 22 and could probably develop a decent following stateside with the right promotional push.
Admittedly, that would mean starting the broadcast at about 5:00 AM, but I’ve endured worse. Japan’s New Year’s Eve MMA cards are not for the weak.