Shocker: Ex-world title challenger Matsumoto upset by novice Sagawa

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Who imagined Matsumoto’s defeat in his comebacking fight after an unsuccessful world title shot? Formerly world rated Ryo Matsumoto (21-3, 19 KOs), 126, had failed to win the WBA 122-pound belt from Daniel Roman in his previous appearance this February, and engaged in his first bout since against a novice named Ryo Sagawa (5-1, 3 KOs), 126, who greatly stunned the audience by halting Matsumoto at 1:30 of the third round in a scheduled eight beneath a WBC bantam eliminator between Takuma Inoue and Mark John Yap on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Matsumoto, a taller boxer-puncher having won the national high school championships four times, was a prefight favorite, of course, even though Sagawa, a graduate from Tokyo Agricultural University, had an amateur mark of 62-22, 17 stoppages.

Matsumoto, former OPBF 115-pound titlist, made a good start by whipping the novice with his trademark up-and-down combinations in the first round. Sagawa, however, connected with solid rights to the aggressive foe and shook him up effectively in round two.

The third saw Sagawa land a vicious countering right, badly dropping Matsumoto on all fours. The ex-world challenger wobblingly stood up and recklessly retaliated with all he had–without grabbing his opponent. Sagawa withstood his desperate attack, fought back hard and battered him to the punch, prompting the ref Someya’s intervention. It’s truly a shocker that derailed Matsumoto’s plan to his second world title crack.

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