By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
A couple of handsome boys will square off tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. It is rare to stage a world title bout at the Hall (the capacity of which is only 2,000 plus at maximum), as our impresarios usually like to use a bigger stadium in Tokyo for world title bouts such as Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Ota-City General Gymnasium, etc. WBA super bantamweight champ Daniel Roman (23-2-1, 9 KOs) tipped the beam at 121.25, while Japanese challenger Ryo Matsumoto (21-1, 19 KOs) at the 122-pound class limit at the Korakuen Hall’s exhibition hall.
Prior to the weigh-in ceremony, we saw a press conference with WBA officials: referee Luis Pabon (Puerto Rico); judges Glenn Feldman (US), Mikael Hook (Sweden), Chalerm Prayadsab (Thailand); supervisor Alan Kim (Korea).
Roman, 27, confidently said, “I wish to bring back my championship belt to the States. I’m in a career-best shape, and will successfully defend my title.”
Matsumoto, 24, said, “My career took a roundabout way because of my defeat (to Mexican Victor Lopez) and sickness (thyroiditis).” It’s true that he was sidelined with a couple of ill-fated incidents despite his same-year high school rival such as Naoya Inoue has been already shining as world champs. Ryo knows he’s an underdog to the defending champ Danny, but will try to do his best to wrest the belt from him.
It will be presented by Ohashi Promotions in association with Thompson Boxing Promotions to be telecast on a delayed basis by Fuji Television.