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.
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