To kick off the first, of 4, televised shows in Japan over final 2 days of 2016 Fuji TV showcased 2012 Olympic champion Ryota Murata (12-0, 9) [村田 諒太], as he took on Mexican visitor Bruno Sandoval (19-2-1, 15). To begin with Sandoval fought condfidently, using his speed and movement on the ropes to make Murata chase him. At time that was a good tactic from Sandoval, who had the chance to land some shots from range, though every so often during the first round Murata would cut the distance and land a solid blow or two that caught the eye whilstapplying his constant pressure.
The pressure of Murata was again the key in round 2 when he connects early with some solid right hands and forced Sandoval to change tactic, with the Mexican starting to avoid the ropes. That let Mexican have some success and made the round a much more competitive one though seemed to sum up the difference on physical power and strength with Murata constantly pressing the action.
The same pattern continued through the early part of round 3 until Murata landed a monstrous right hand that buckled the knees off Sandoval. Soon after wards Sandoval was down following another stiff right hand from Murata. The Mexican struggled to get to his feet as the referee looked unsure to issue a count or not, before finally waving the bout off with Sandoval in agony and trying to get up.
Despite the win Murata continues to show flaws. His pressure and ability to cut the ring off are impressive, as is his physical strength, but his accuracy is less than stellar and that will have to be corrected before he fights a world champion, or he will be made to pay for it. He's tough and has solid power but there are still holes that a genuinely top tier fighter will use against him
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