By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Elongated super-bantam hard-puncher Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17 KOs), 123.5, proved too much and too sharp for JBC#11 Hideo Sakamoto (17-4-3, 5 KOs), 123.5, stopping him with a furious opening attack at 1:57 of the opening session in a scheduled ten on Monday in Tokyo, Japan.
Matsumoto, once highly rated in the WBO ratings, suffered an upset stoppage by unheralded Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez last May, but got revenge on him via sixth-round TKO in a grudge fight in December. Matsumoto, a 5’8” hard-puncher, started his engine so quickly that he decked the veteran with a short left hook, and floored him again with a wicked right following a barrage of punches with the referee Someya’s well-received intervention.
Unbeaten southpaw super-light Koki Inoue (7-0, 6 KOs), 140, showed his strength in halting another lefty Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3 KOs), 140, at 2:25 of the fifth round in a semi-final eight. Koki, a cousin of world champ Naoya Inoue, fought cautiously in earlier rounds since Fujita is a competitive opponent, but Koki solved his fight plan with southpaw right uppercuts to the nose to have him nose-bleeding badly. As Koki badly hurt Fujita in the fatal session, the ref duly declared a halt to save the loser.
WBO#3 light-flyweight Ryuji Hara (22-2, 13 KOs), 107.5, occasionally had a tough time, but finally caught Akiyoshi Kanazawa (14-7-4, 7 KOs), 107.75, en route to a fine stoppage at 1:52 of the sixth session. Hara was leading on points, but in the fatal stanza Kanazawa desperately came out fighting to have Hara at bay. But it was Hara that displayed a furious retaliation to have him in great trouble to cause the ref’s intervention.