A year ago Ryo Matsumoto (12-0, 10) was seen as one of the most promising prospects in professional boxing. He was 9-0 (8) though hadn't yet faced anyone of anyone of real note with his best to that point being a decision over Takuya Miyamora. This year however he has had a real break out year with wins over former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka and former world champion Denkaosan Kaovichit. He'll be hoping to build further on that success on December 30th when he takes on world ranked Thai Rusalee Samor (25-5-2, 11) in a contest for the OPBF Super Flyweight title. The bout will be the first title bout of the youngster's career and will see him facing a 3rd notable opponent this year as well stepping up to 12 round bouts for the first time.
For those who haven't yet seen Matsumoto you've really been missing out one of the sport's most talented youngster's and a man tipped for success before he had even turned professional. As an amateur he was a multi-time high school champion and racked up a very impressive 53-3 (39) record. That amateur pedigree saw him signing professional papers when he was just 17 and he debuted almost 3 years ago to the day.
Early in his career Matsumoto was matched like many other promising Japanese fighters. He started in 6 rounders against a variety of poor Thai imports and the occasional domestic fighter and made them often look worse than they were. He looked at ease from his debut and showed a lovely variety of shots whilst proving he was capable both at range and on the inside. Since then he has developed as one would have hope and still shows the same lovely variety of shots as well as his quick speed and hurtful power, both to the head and the body.
At the moment there are still a few question marks hanging over Matsumoto's head though those questions may get answered here. The first of those regards his stamina which has never really been tested. To date Matsumoto has only been beyond 6 rounds twice in his career and some suspect he may struggle with the 12 round distance. The other major question regards his chin, which again hasn't been tested. Concerning his chin however no one seems to have many doubts there though he still hasn't faced a puncher as of yet.
Samor will go in to this bout as “the other guy” though is himself a very good fighter who is world ranked by the IBF and is the current IBF Asia Super Flyweight champion, and a former IBF Pan Pacific Flyweight champion. Like many Thai's he can be a bit predictable though he comes across as a tough fighter willing to walk through anything in an attempt to make a fight a war of attrition, something he did against Rex Tso in a somewhat controversial bout last year.
Although not the most powerful or quickest fighter out there Samor is a warrior who can often make fights very hard for his opponents with his work rate and aggression. Like a number of his compatriots he really seems to enjoy a fight. On the other however is technically limited and can be out boxed, out moved and made to look silly by a talented boxer. He is small at the weight and could be dwarfed here which could further show up his technical limitations.
At his best Samor is a handful for many in the division. He's a long way from being a world champion however not many will have an easy day with his “in your face” mentality and, to a use western term, he is almost a gate keeper level fighter. To beat him legitimately you often need to be a good fighter, like Sonny Boy Jaro and Denver Cuello. At his worst however he's there to be beat by lesser fighters, as seen in his stoppage loss to Ryen Rey Ponteras in December 2012. Sadly however his best aren't great and as with most Thai's it's hard to read too much into his best wins and over-all competition.
In some ways this bout depends on what Samor turns up, though we can't see him ever being able to beat Matsumoto. If Samor is well prepared and on song he has the potential to make this difficult for Matsumoto and drag the Japanese youngster into deep water. On the other hands if Samor isn't on form, or if Matsumoto is even better than we think, then this could be over quickly. We're hoping Samor can make Matsumoto work for the victory here so that we can asses how good the Japanese fighter really is.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.