Danny “The Baby Faced Assassin” Roman to make his first title defense

In Los Angeles, Super Bantamweight Champ Danny “The Baby Faced Assassin” Roman is shown hitting the mitts with longtime coach/mentor Eddie Gonzalez.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the reigning WBA Super Bantamweight Champ, 27-year-old, 5’5½″ Danny Roman (23-2-1, 9 KOs), had signed to make his first title defense against the No. 13 ranked challenger, a 23-year-old, 5’8″ Featherweight Ryo Matsumoto (21-1, 19 KOs) on February 28, 2018 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

This 12-round world championship fight, dubbed “The Challenge,” is being promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions in association with Ohashi Promotions. Roman, who is based in Los Angeles, became the new WBA belt holder on the third of September after defeating Shun Kubo (12-1, 9 KOs) with a 9th round stoppage at the latter’s place of birth Kyoto, Japan. Take note that Roman, an eight-year veteran dominated Kubo, who at that juncture had less experience and half as many fights. That being said, Roman’s next opponent, Ryo Matsumoto, not only has the same experience as Roman, he’s also an orthodox fighter who has 10 additional KOs. As they did in the Roman vs. Kubo fight, the Roman support group should take the added precaution of making certain there is a weight limit for this fight as it appears Matsumoto, with his much bigger frame, could have a substantial edge come fight night after rehydration and perhaps outweigh Roman by as many as 10 pounds on fight night.  

To watch Roman’s impressive KO victory that earned him the title simply go to Kubo Vs Roman on YouTube: <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/9Up05wmBWu0″ frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

The mere fact Roman is traveling back to this island nation for his first world title defense to battle someone as highly thought of as Ryo Matsumoto says a lot about Roman’s confidence and true grit. “If you put in the work and the sacrifice like I do, then it makes no difference where I fight,” answers Roman. “I have a great team behind me. My preparation for Matsumoto is already underway. I know he’s going to bring everything he has (and then some if Matsumoto outweighs Roman by 10 pounds on fight night) and I’m going to be ready for it.” Not if you, a natural super-bantamweight end up battling a featherweight or super featherweight on that night.

The much bigger and heavier Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is shown landing yet another blast to Sebastian Zbik’s midsection on June 4, 2011.

This scenario should remind you of the night the undefeated Sebastian Zbik (30-0) battled Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (42-0-1), who by fight time outweighed Zbik by 15 pounds. In the later rounds, Zbik, the better boxer, could no longer take the punishment from the bigger, heavier man and ended up losing his first fight. Chavez was declared the winner by a majority decision even though Zbik controlled the early rounds by outpunching and outmaneuvering his opponent. The sluggish Chavez didn’t even get involved in this fight until the fifth round when he had success landing these heavy blows to the smaller man’s midsection. Then, it was back and forth until the seventh round. At that point, Chavez began to take over with his assaults to the midsection. In the 10th and 11th rounds, the gutsy Zbik was barely able to get back to his corner. In the 12th and final round, Zbik made this valiant effort to come back with a flurry of punches but was once again overtaken by the bigger, heavier Chavez. According to Compubox’ punch stats from that fight, Zbik landed 391 punches to Chavez’s 256. Zbik landed more punches in every round except for the 7th and 11th.

“Danny will be making his case as the best in his class when he faces Matsumoto,” said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing Promotions. “We’ve watched Danny mature into a top-flight world champion and now the world gets to see his special talent. We’re excited for him and have no doubt he will retain his WBA championship in February.” Just saying, that might be an insurmountable task if his opponent is already a bigger man and then outweighs him by 10 or more pounds.

History speaks volumes about the Japanese being known for being great wartime strategist. If you give any credence to that belief then take note of the photo they sent Thompson Boxing Promotions to go on the fight poster. The photo Thompson Boxing Promotions received would have you believe Matsumoto is rather small and young. The more recent photo shows how mature and fully developed Matsumoto really is.

Photos on the right indicate Ryo Matsumoto (21-1, 19 KOs) has had much success using the uppercut.

Matsumoto heads into his first world title fight with a four-fight knockout win streak. His 19 knockout wins in his 21 total victories are certainly impressive numbers and among the reasons for his high world ranking. In regards to Matsumoto’s only loss, a fifth-round knockout loss to Mexico’s Victor Uriel Lopez in May of 2016; Matsumoto avenged that defeat in his next fight, stopping Lopez in the sixth round in December of the same year.

“I saw Danny Roman’s title-winning fight over Shun Kubo and he looked formidable,” said Matsumoto of Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. “I know I’ll be an underdog, but I’ll try to do my best to win his belt.”
“It’s our great pleasure to welcome such a great champion as Danny Roman,” said Hideyuki Ohashi, president of Ohashi Promotions and former WBA and WBC minimumweight world champion. “Danny is strong and sharp, and his defense with Matsumoto will be a very good fight without a doubt.”
It certainly will be a great fight considering how tough Matsumoto really is. If Roman, with the help of his coach Eddie Gonzalez and the rest of his support staff, can continue to make the proper adjustments, this amazing sojourn will continue and how great is that? One last thing is the concern about Roman fighting in Japan with that time zone change of 16-hours. For the Kubu fight, Roman arrived 10 days in advance of fight night so he could get used to the time change and develop a level of comfort. If it worked the last time out, why mess with success?

At this year’s 2017 LATV Boxing Awards Ceremony the new WBA World Super Bantamweight Champ Danny “The Baby Faced Assassin” Roman and his coach Eddie Gonzalez took top honors.

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