Ryo Matsumoto has officially vacated Super Flyweight title, will focus on the packed Bantamweight division
Yesterday we reported that Ryo Matsumoto (14-0, 12) was no longer listed by the OPBF as the Super Flyweight champion. At the time there seemed to be no official word from Matsumoto or his team regarding the situation, however it's now been reported that the Ohashi gym handed in a submission request to the JBC to be ranked at Bantamweight and due to the struggles to make Super Flyweight he has vacated the OPBF title.
The Japanese youngster is now set to be ranked at #5 in Japan at 118lbs and is yet another welcome addition to an already packed weight class that is all but dominated by Japanese fighters.
The divisional kingpin is of course Shinsuke Yamanaka (22-0-2, 16) who has reigned supreme as the WBC champion since November 2011. He'll be defending his title in April against fellow unbeaten Diego Ricardo Santillan and a win there will extend his reign further. As well a Yamanaka Japan also boasts the current WBO champion Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) who will be in action in May against Jamie McDonnell. It seems likely that Kameda will be stripped of his WBO title ahead of that bout due to issues between the WBO and the WBA so it could be that Tomoki ends up being stripped of the WBO title and ends up finishing May as the WBA "regular" champion.
As well as the champions Japanese fighters also sit on the very of IBF and WBO world title fights. At the moment Ryosuke Iwasa (19-1, 12) is on the verge of a interim IBF title fight against Lee Haskin's, with rumours going around that that bout could be in Monaco in the summer. There is also talk that Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) could be getting a shot at the WBO title later in the year, especially if Tomoki is stripped of the belt. At the time of writing Akaho is ranked #1 by the WBO and with ALA now backing him it seems almost a given that he will get a shot, even if Tomoki doesn't vacate.
Matsumoto will be joining a list of contenders a little further down, like current Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda (21-6, 11) who is world ranked and has really developed after a less than inspiring start to his career, there is also the unbeaten Shohei Omori (13-0, 8), who actually fights Masuda in April. The winner of the Masuda/Omori bout would almost certainly be top 10 ranked by all 4 world title bouts and a title fight by the end of the year wouldn't be out of the question.
One other name worth mentioning is that of Daiki Kameda (29-4, 18) who will be re-emerging later this year with the belief being that he will looking to compete at Bantamweight as he attempts to become a 3-weight world champion.
To say the Bantamweight division is packed is a real understatement and it seems that with Matsumoto now joining the division it is set to become even more packed.
On Sunday Korean fans saw 22 year old Ye Joon Kim (11-1-2, 5) claim his professional title as he narrowly over-came Filipino fighter Vergil Puton (14-6, 7) in a very tightly contested contest.
The bout, fought for the IBF Asia Super Bantamweight title, saw Kim being run very close in a bout scored a split decision by the 3 ringside judges, who all had the bout 115-113.
Kim, who had stopped his previous 4 opponents was really forced to bite down and give his all in the later rounds when the more experienced Puton managed to give the Korean a real scare. Sadly for Puton however it was all for naught with the Pinoy suffering his third loss in a row,all by close decision.
We expect this win for Kim will put him into the IBF world rankings though on this showing he isn't ready for a world class opponent. In fact he's nowhere near ready. At 22 years old however there is no need to rush him towards a major bout.
(Image courtesy of http://www.koreaboxing.or.kr)
The OPBF rankings updates were released recently and whilst they weren't earth shattering they did feature a few notable changes.
The most notable change, and in fact the most shocking, is at Super Flyweight where Ryo Matsumoto is no longer listed as the champion. Whether this is a mistake by the OPBF or not is unclear, with no announcement having been made either Matsumoto or someone from his team in the Ohashi gym. Notably Matsumoto's stablemate, Takuma Inoue, has been instilled as the #3 ranked contender having now moved up a weight class.
A less surprisingly move has come at Super Featherweight where Jomthong Chuwatana is no longer listed as the champion. This is hardly a surprise given that Jomthong has now signed to fight for the WBA "super" title in May against Takashi Uchiyama. This has left a very interesting possibility that Rikki Naito may be fighting Daiki Kaneko or Lorenzo Villanueva for the title later in the year.
For those who want to see the newest rankings they are available below as a PDF file courtesy of the OPBF.
(Image courtesy of Ryo Matsumoto's blog)
A few weeks ago we had heard rumours that WBA interim Light Flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin (22-1-1, 17) would be defending his belt in China in April. The rumour, at the time, was that Petalcorin would be defending in Shanghai on April 23rd against a yet to be named opponent.
On Sunday that rumour was proven to be wrong, though it wasn't far off, as news broke that Petalcorin would actually be defending his in Beijing on April 24th.
Sadly for fans hoping to see Petalcorin battle a notable name they'll be left disappointed as the Filipino puts his belt on the line against the relatively unknown Chinese southpaw Ma Yi Ming (12-5, 7). Ming only really came to our attention late last year when he defeated Indonesian veteran Tommy Seran to claim the WBO Asia Pacific title. It was Mind's first Light Flyweight title, though he had previously held the WBO China Zone title at Flyweight. The win over Seran was Ming's 9th in a row and although it ended a 4 fight stoppage run it was his best to date, by some margin. Notably that run of wins has really turned Ming's career around after a torrid 3-5 start which saw him being matched with fighters like Wanheng Menayothin and Jonathan Baat.
Although Ming is on a good run and will be fighting at home he will be viewed as the big under-dog against the talented Petalcorin who won the title last August when he scored a 7th round TKO win against Walter Tello, in what is the best win on his record. Notably that win came in Shanghai in what is Petalcorin's only previous bout in China.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)
On Saturday we were informed that two promising Filipino fighters were set to get title fights in South Africa on April 24th.
One of those fighters will be unbeaten Featherweight hopeful Randy Braga (15-0-1, 3) who will attempt to claim the IBO Inter-Continental strap as he takes on the dangerous Macbute Sinyabi (24-4, 19). The unbeaten Braga has won his last 3 bouts following a technical draw in February 2014 against Jonel Albio but has yet to really face anyone above Filipino domestic level. Although talented we're unsue how good the 27 year old really is, and his lack of power may well be an issue, especially on the road. As for Sinyabi the South African is a serious puncher and in fact he started his career 18-1 (18). In recent year Sinyabi has struggled to put opponents away but a couple of stoppage wins over Thabo Sonjica proves that he can hit, and he can hit hard.
The other bout will see Renz Rosia (11-2, 5) battle against the very talented Makazole Tete (12-0-1, 9) in a bout for the IBO Inter-Continental Flyweight title. The 26 year old Rosia has won his last 9 after a 2-2 start to his career, with one of those losses coming by injury based stoppage to the very capable Cris Paulino. Although in good form Rosia has been facing limited foes and will be taking a huge step up in class fight Tete. For those wondering Makazole Tete is the brother of current IBF Super Flyweight champion Zolani Tete and many in the know actually rate Makazole as the better of the brothers. If that's true then Rosia is in for a very painful night.
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