(Reuters) - The World Boxing Association has suspended two judges and ordered a rematch of a middleweight title fight between Hassan N‘Dam of France and Japan’s Ryota Murata after the bout ended with a controversial split decision last weekend.
N‘Dam took the vacant title in Tokyo despite being knocked out by the 31-year-old Japanese and suffering heavy punishment for the majority of the fight.
WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza confirmed that two judges, Panama’s Gustavo Padilla and Canadian Hubert Earle, have been suspended for six months over their scoring of the fight.
“My scoring, as well as the scoring of five judges and the supervisor of the fight, were different from that of Mr. Padilla and Earle,” Mendoza told a news conference on Thursday.
“I had to address this case personally, and so I did it on Saturday night. However, we had to announce our decision on the judges after a closer evaluation.”
Two judges saw an N‘Dam victory with 116-111 and 115-112. The third had Murata up 117-110 -- the same score as Mendoza.
“First of all let me apologize to Murata, Teiken Promotions and all Japanese boxing fans,” Mendoza added. “I feel angry and frustrated for not being able to serve the sport with the right decisions.”
“I will demand the championship committee to order a direct rematch.”
The defeat was 2012 London Olympics gold medallist Murata’s first as a professional after 12 straight victories, while N‘Dam improved his record to 36-2.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson