Over the past few days we had been asked "Who will Ryo Matsumoto fight on December 30th?" A question that showed two things, firstly the obvious, Matsumoto (12-0, 10) hadn't had an opponent announced whilst the December 30th card was being put together with a trio of world title fights and other notable prospects. Second there is real interest from some Western fans in regards to Matsumoto who is regarded as one of Japan's premier prospects in and around Super Flyweight and Bantamweight.
Today those fans got their answer as it was announced Matsumoto would be fighting against the world ranked, IBF #8, Rusalee Samor (25-5-2, 11) of Thailand. This will be Matsumoto's second bout against a world ranked Thai having previously taken care of Denkaosan Kaovichit in 2 rounds last time out.
Samor is a name some fans may be familiar with even if you're not one to follow the Thai scene religiously. That's because he fought on one of the Macao cards in 2013 where he gave Rex Tso a genuine scare on route to losing a majority decision. That bout was a really lucky escape for Tso who looked like he had been out worked and toughed by the Thai hard man who was very unlucky not to get the win.
As well as Tso we've seen Samor battle against the likes of Sonny Boy Jaro, Donny Mabao, Angky Angkotta and Espinos Sabu. In some of those bouts he has looked promising whilst in others, including a recent bout with Filipino journeyman Fernando Ocon, he has looked relatively limited.
We suspect that if Matsumoto is as good as advertised he should maintain his unbeaten record here and move into another set of world rankings. He can't, however, go into this bout expecting to blow Samor away as the Thai has only been stopped twice in his 32 fight career. We've got to admit this is a tougher bout than we had expected for Matsumoto who appears to want to chase domestic and regional titles in 2015 however it does fit in with the Ohashi boxing mentality of having good quality fights on their big shows, something other promoters perhaps need to take a note of.
(Image courtesy of http://www.ohashi-gym.com)
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