By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
WBA super bantamweight champ Daniel Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs), 121.25, US, impressively kept his belt as he hammered out a unanimous decision over hard-punching Japanese challenger Ryo Matsumoto (21-2, 19 KOs), 122, over twelve hard-fought rounds on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Glenn Feldman (US), Mikael Hook (Sweden) both tallied 119-109, and Chalerm Prayadsab (Thailand) 118-110, all for the defending champ. The referee was Luis Pabon (Puerto Rico).
Roman’s incessant combinations to the face and the body were more effective than those of the taller Japanese puncher whose retaliations were averted by the champ’s better defensive skills. The difference of precision accounted for the winner and the loser. Roman brought back a point after their furious exchange of punches in almost all rounds.
Having dethroned Japanese southpaw Shun Kubo last August, Roman, making his initial defense, started well with his compact and accurate jabs and combinations in the first session. Four inches taller and three years younger, Ryo, with a much better KO ratio, tried to mix it up in the second, but was outpunched by Danny with sharper angles and better positioning.
The Japanese challenger accelerated his attack in round three, which a couple of judges gave Ryo due to his aggressiveness. Danny kept on punching with sharper combinations to the face and to the midsection with much better precision, while Matsumoto’s solid shots were cleverly blocked by Roman’s well-educated defense.
Like diligently saving money day after day, Roman accumulated a point after a point as the contest progressed with people’s impression that Danny is a better-skilled boxer than Ryo. Roman’s persistent body bombardments apparently weakened Matsumoto, who was slowing down in later rounds though he gamely refused to go down. Danny had him at bay in the eleventh, when Ryo was retreating with his absorption of the champ’s busy and accurate combos.
It was Roman that became fresher and ferocious in the final session, when he attempted to finish the Japanese foe with furious combinations to bring back the bacon to California. Matsumoto had a narrow escape upon the final bell.
Roman, handled well by Eddie Gonalez since childhood, said, “I could control the fight from the start to the end. Matsumoto was a good puncher with a strong heart, but I was an obvious winner. I’d like to fight any challenger and any other champion.” He is mandated to defend his belt against interim titlist Moises Flores in his next defense.
The crestfallen loser gloomily said, “I admit I lost. Roman was stronger than me. I’ll come back by improving my technical defects that caused this defeat.”
Even out of champion-making country Japan, all cannot win the championship if the champion is better, stronger and more skillful—like this night.
WBA supervisor: Alan Kim (Korea).
Promoter: Ohashi Promotions in association with Thompson Boxing Promotions.