Danny Roman returns to Japan
Life hasn’t changed all that much for WBA super bantamweight titlist Danny Roman, since winning his title by stopping Shun Kubo last September.
“I still feel I’m the same guy. I’m still the same,” Roman insisted, a couple of weeks ago at Legendz Boxing in Norwalk, California. “It didn’t get to my head. I’ve got a lot I have to prove. I proved a little bit to the world that I’m championship material.”
Against Kubo, Roman dominated from the onset, in enemy territory, in Kyoto, Japan, to capture his first major world title. He says of that night, “Everything went as planned and everything came out great. I broke the guy down and we finished him in the ninth round,” said Roman, who improved to 23-2-1 (9).
With the win he joined the WBC’s Rey Vargas, the IBF’s Ryosuke Iwasa and the WBO’s Jessie Magdaleno (WBO) as the major beltholders in the division.
“I see myself as one of the best but there’s still better than me, the best in my division. Those are the people that I’m going for. I want to fight the best,” he stated. And now, for the second time, in as many fights, he going back to the “Land of the Rising Sun” for his first title defense that takes place on Wednesday.
“His name is Ryo Matsumoto; he’s a tall guy. He’s got the reach; he’s got the power,” said Roman of the foe he’ll be facing at the famed Korakuen Hall. “So I’ve got to make a smart fight and go inside, don’t let him get his distance and fight my fight.”
For now, Roman fights in Japan (where there is good yen to be made) but the hope is that soon Roman will be back in the States and performing on one of the major platforms.
Alex Camponovo, general manager and matchmaker for Thompson Boxing Promotions, explained to UCNLive, “We’ve been ordered by the WBA that the winner of that fight has to face (No. 1 contender) Moises Flores. We have a few days to negotiate after the fight. So naturally that’s our next step. That’s a good challenge for (Roman) and a good opportunity to feature him in the United States. We’ve had conversations with Flores’ people before we made the Matsumoto fight but we were well on our way in negotiations for that fight.
“So if (Roman) does well, he’ll be here in the United States (for his next fight), most likely.”
Roman isn’t a complete stranger to the major networks here. Shortly over a year ago, he dominated Adam Lopez in nine rounds in a “ShoBox” main event, in Atlantic City, in an eye-opening performance. Now that he has a major belt around his waist, the hope is to get him on the premium cable networks.
“I’ve had an opportunity to talk to both of the main people from Showtime and HBO. They’re pretty aware of who he is. He’s known at Showtime; he was on ShoBox once. I’ve talked to Gordon Hall (the Executive Producer of ShoBox); he knows about him. We’re just looking for the right opportunity. We were approached by HBO with an opportunity for him to unify the title versus Rey Vargas but (Roman) just won the championship. I think he needs to establish himself a little bit more to make it a big fight here.
“No challenger is too great for him. He wants to fight anybody that is up-and-coming or is a current champion. The division that he’s in right now is loaded with talent. There’s a lot of opportunity for him to grow and he’s still young, still at the top of his game. So if we have to take a couple of more fights before he makes it back to the American market and we get those dates on those different networks, we’ll do so.”
At age 27, the soft-spoken and unassuming Roman is a boxer that seems to be coming into his own. He’s a well-rounded boxer with a solid fundamental grounding. The only thing he really doesn’t do at an above-average level is punch.
There’s an old adage that when a boxer wins a title for the first time, he becomes better and more confident. When asked if this is the case with him, Roman states, ”I think I have. I think I have more confidence in myself. Like I got to this point, I achieved my dream and it boosted my confidence up.”
As you see Roman (who went through his last sparring session in California before flying over to Japan about two weeks ago) at the gym, he really doesn’t stand out from any of the other boxers at Legendz, which is filled daily with world champions, prospects and blue-collar contenders getting in their work. For now, life hasn’t changed all that much for the friendly Roman.
“I get a little more attention that I used to,” he admits. “People pay a little more attention now that I’m a champion. So far, everyone’s good to me.”
Here’s this week’s edition of “The Next Round,” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly.
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