Earlier this year the Oriental boxing scene was shocked as the much unfancied Shintaro Matsumoto (13-4, 9) claimed the OPBF Super Middleweight title, upsetting former world title challenger Yuzo Kiyota. Part of the surprise was that Matsumoto managed to even see the final bell given he had been stopped twice previously by Kiyota, who had previously challenged for a world title.
This coming Monday Matsumoto looks to make the first defense of his title as he takes on once beaten Australian challenger Jayde Mitchell (9-1, 4) in one growing number of Japan Vs Australia bouts from this year.
The champion isn't anything special. Although he has 17 bouts not many of them are openly available to watch, but what there is out there certainly doesn't make him look anything particularly outstanding. He began his career back in 2008 and has suffered losses to Hiromitsu Miura, Robert Berridge and two defeats to Kiyota. Despite that he has improved in recent years and his win over Kiyota in April was, by far, his best win.
Matsumoto isn't the toughest, nor is he a big puncher, but he seems like the type of fighter who has started to bite down on his gum shield and refuse to go away quietly. He likely knows that another loss will be the end of his career and that could end either bring the best out of him going forward, or, potentially, see him essentially being happy to retire having claimed the OPBF title and gone further than almost anyone would have expected. That's not to say the title can't fill him with confidence and get the best out of him, but it could just mean that he's happy with what he's done and may be “happy” to know he's done more than most fighters.
Whilst footage of the champion is sparse there is plenty of footage of the visitor with the Australian having many of his fights currently available on youtube. Those include his opening round in over Gabor Farkas, who looked completely clueless in the ring. From the footage available Mitchell looks composed and patient. He's not the quickest, or most powerful, but comes into the ring with plenty of skill and nice timing. It is worth noting that he does look like a small Super Middleweight, almost a blown up Middleweight, but does have a lovely variety of shot, with his left hook to the body being very nice.
The footage of Mitchell makes him look like a pure boxer and we have seen him hurt before, with Francisco Benitez dropping him with a cuffing shot, even though the referee missed the call. He has however improved and matured from that bout, and at his best he looks really promising. There is however a lot between his promise and what he's delivered and this bout is a step up for the Aussie, who is fighting away from home for the first time.
Without trying to be mean to either fighter neither is exceptional, however that's part of the appeal here in what should be a really competitive bout. We think Michell is the better boxer, but he's a smaller Super Middleweight and is fighting in his opponents back yard, both of which may hinder him here. On neutral soil we'd favour Mitchell to get a close decision but in Japan though could be very, very close on the cards.
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.