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Danny Roman to make first title defense against Ryo Matsumoto

Danny Roman won his junior featherweight world title in Japan and he is headed back there to make his first defense.

Roman will defend his 122-pound belt against Ryo Matsumoto on Feb. 28 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Thompson Boxing announced on Tuesday.

Roman (23-2-1, 9 KOs), 27, of Los Angeles, traveled to Kyoto, Japan and knocked out Shun Kubo on Sept. 3 to win the title and said he has no problem going back there to defend it.

"If you put in the work and the sacrifice like I do then it makes no difference where I fight," Roman said. "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 I'm going to be ready for it."

Said promoter Ken Thompson: "Danny will be making his case as the best in his (weight) class when he faces Matsumoto. 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 that he will retain his WBA championship in February."

The 23-year-old Matsumoto (21-1, 19 KOs), who has had all of his fights in Japan, has won four bouts in a row, though against limited opposition, since suffering his only loss by fifth-round knockout to Mexico's Victor Uriel Lopez in May 2016. Matsumoto avenged the defeat in his next fight, stopping Lopez in the sixth round last December.

"I saw Danny Roman's title-winning fight over Shun Kubo and he looked formidable," Matsumoto said. "I know I'll be an underdog, but I'll try to do my best to win his belt."

Matsumoto's promoter, Hideyuki Ohashi, a former strawweight world titleholder, said he is pleased that Roman has agreed to fight his boxer in Japan.

"It's our great pleasure to welcome such a great champion as Danny Roman," he said. "Danny is strong and sharp, and his defense with Matsumoto will be a very good fight without doubt."

Author: Dan Rafael, ESPN

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