Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Ref bungles Murata-Sandoval knockout in Japan

Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

A bizarre scene played out on the undercard of one of Japan’s year-end boxing cards in Tokyo.

Ryota Murata (12-0, 9 knockouts), the 2012 Olympic middleweight gold medalist from Nara, Japan, found the target on Mexico City’s Bruno Sandoval (19-2-1, 15 KOs) in the third round with a shotgun right hand that stunned him before a right hand behind the ear sent him flat on his back with his eyes wide open.

Japanese referee Yuji Fukuchi, a 15-year veteran of officiating according to Boxrec, tried to lift Sandoval’s limp body off the canvas by his arms. Sandoval rose up slightly before falling back down again when Fukuchi tried to wipe his gloves.

Fukuchi then started to count, and Sandoval again attempted to rise but fell for a third time. Fukuchi completed the count of 10 just as Sandoval’s face hit the canvas.

Murata, who scored his fourth knockout win of 2016, could only smile and raise his gloves as the absurd scene played out.

Sandoval, who, at 25, is five years younger than Murata, had never been stopped before.

Murata is promoted by Teiken Promotions and Top Rank and is rated in the top five of all four major sanctioning bodies.

(READ: Ryota Murata looks for big opportunities at middleweight)

In the main event, Naoya Inoue retained his WBO junior bantamweight title with a sixth-round stoppage of Kohei Kono, while IBF junior flyweight titleholder Akira Yaegashi stopped Samartlek Kokietgym in the 12th round for his second successful defense.

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