In the lesser of two title fights in Japan today fans got the chance to see a minor upset as unheralded South Korean Ye-Joon Kim (8-1-2, 3) stopped Japan's Akihiro Matsumoto (12-5-1, 6), pictured, to claim the previously vacant WBC Youth Super Bantamweight title.
On paper it may not immediately look like an upset but Matsumoto was widely expected to win. He was the more proven fighter, he was at home, ranked by the OPBF and although he had lost several bouts his losses had come to fighters like Yu Kawaguchi and Jaesung Lee.
Matsumoto started well though Kim was a determined opponent and refused to just lose. Instead Kim showed his resilience, his toughness and his will to win before finally grinding down Matsumoto forcing the referee to save the 23 year old Japanese fighter in the 9th round.
The victory for Kim, his biggest so far, was his second victory in Japan having beaten Masatoshi Tomita a year ago and saw him winning his first title. For Matsumoto, who was attempting to claim his second professional belt, it seems a case of going back to the drawing board and possible deciding whether he wants to be a Featherweight or a Super Bantamweight.
(Image courtesy of http://www.boxing.co.jp)
We learned earlier today that Japan will host a WBC Super Bantamweight title bout on April 13th as Japan's own Akihiro Matsumoto (12-4-1, 6) will fight South Korea's Ye-Joon Kim (7-1-2, 2) in a very interesting match up.
The WBC Youth Titles, which are often seen as a stepping stone belt for young fighters on their way up, is an often over-looked belt due to the fact fighters fight for the belt before they are well known. Despite this they have been held by some very notable fighters including international stars such as Humberto Soto, Jorge Arce, Chad Dawson, Timothy Bradley, Saul Alvarez and Leo Santa Cruz.
As well as the international fighters the titles have also been a major stepping stone for some notable Asians including Oleydong Sithsamerchai, Pungluang Sor Singyu, Wanheng Menayothin, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and Tomoki Kameda.
In regards to the two fighters Matsumoto is probably the slightly better known. The 23 year old Japanese fighter has been a professional a little over 5 years and although his record is marked up he has faced some decent fighters such as Yu Kawaguchi, who fights for the Japanese national title later this year, and Jaesung Lee a 2-time Korean national champion.
Although lesser well known Kim does have "the better record" and is currently on an 8 fight unbeaten run. Saying that however he has been fighting limited opponents which could explain his impressive looking record. Notable though those victories will have filled him with confidence and he may well believe that he's the better fighting going in to the excellent "lower level" match up.
(Picture courtesy of http://www.boxing.co.jp)
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