Last week we spoke about Korean fighter Young Kyun Park in this series, and this week we'll discuss a man he fought, Koji Matsumoto (26-6-1, 15). Although he never became a world champion Matsumoto is an interesting individual who challenged for world titles in the 1990's, and then retired but remained a notable figure within the sport. Even now he's someone who continues to cultivate talent within Japan and is very highly regarded within the sport.
Of course this series is the 10 facts you probably didn't know about..., series and today we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Koji Matsumoto, someone you really should get to know, as his role in boxing isn't going to end any time soon.
1-Matsumoto is a second generation fighter. His father, Hiroshi Matusmoto was himself a semi-successful fighter who won the East Japan Rookie of the Year at Welterweight in 1957. Hiroshi's full record isn't available on Boxrec but the excellent http://fanblogs.jp/boxingmeikan report that Matsumoto senior went 6-4 (2).
2-As an amateur Matsumoto racked up a 37-6 (21) record.
3-Matsumoto went to the same high school and University as Yuichi Kasai, himself a former fighter. In fact they both dropped out of University and debuted in the same year. Both have now gone on to have very well respected careers as trainer after losing in 3 world title bouts. The two are close friends and Matsumoto has helped out at Kasai's GLOVES gym in Tokyo.
4-Matsumoto boxed out of the legendary Yonekura Gym. For those who don't follow the Japanese gym scene, that's the same gym that brought us world champions like Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Shigeo Nakajima, Hideyuki Ohashi and Hiroshi Kawashima.
5-After losing to Young Kyun Park, in a WBA Featherweight world title bout, the two men developed a solid friendship, and Park has been over to Japan in recent years to see bouts on the invitation of Matsumoto. Park revealed that Matsumoto treats him like a brother and is the only fighter he fought who is still in contact with him.
6-More than half of Matsumoto's career was spent in title bouts. He fought 33 professional bouts with 17 title contests. They included 3 world title bouts, 1 OPBF title bout and 13 bouts for the Japanese Featherweight title. His overall record in these bouts was 12-5.
7-Since retiring from in ring participation Matsumoto has become a trainer at the Ohashi Gym, linking up with former Yonekura Gym mate Hideyuki Ohashi. Since being a trainer he has worked heavily with Akira Yaegashi, Satoshi Hosono and Katsushige Kawashima.
8-In 2004 Matsumoto won the Eddie Townsend award for his work as a trainer. At the time he was the youngest trainer to win the award.
9-Matsumoto has released two DVD's, which are available on Amazon.jp. They are focused on training in boxing, as opposed to some of the fitness DVD's released. Interestingly fellow Yonekura gym fighter Hiroshi Kawashima has also released his own boxing DVD, with his focused on defense.
10-The Matsumoto boxing name is set to continue with a third generation fighter, as Koji's son Keisuke Matsumoto turned professional in 2020, joining the Ohashi Gym where he will continue to be trained by Koji.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).