Danny Roman travels to Japan for first title shot
By the time you’re reading this, Danny Roman will be just a day from his first title opportunity as he faces Shun Kubo for the WBA super bantamweight title at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan, on September 3. And yes, this is also his first excursion to a foreign land.
”Yes it is. It’s my first trip overseas and it’s a pretty far flight – 16-hour flight,” said the native of Southern California a few weeks ago at the Legendz Boxing Gym in the city of Downey.
And knowing that his job may require some traveling, some time ago, he secured his passport. “I knew, at anytime, this opportunity was going to come to me,” said Roman, who has fought almost exclusively in his home state.
Roman, 27, who scored an eye-opening victory in his most recent outing, last January, over Adam Lopez on “ShoBox,” feels as though, with 25 professional bouts (22-2-1, 8 knockouts), he has ripened to a point where he feels he is ready for such an assignment.
“I’m really confident. I’m ready for this,” he told UCNLive.com. “We’ve been through a lot of tough fights and I think it built me up to where I am now and that’s becoming a world champion. So that’s our goal right now and we’ll bring that belt home.”
When offered this fight, Roman didn’t hesitate – quite frankly he really had no other choice. At this point, like most other boxers, Roman needs a belt to increase his value and the likelihood of scoring a spot on American television. (Again, belts matter.)
“I know, everywhere I go, things aren’t going to be in my favor, so I’m used to that. I’m used to proving everybody wrong,” said Roman, who came into the bout with Lopez as the B-side of the equation. “I knew it was a step-up. I had to step up to the next level and that’s what we did and, after that fight, I knew I was ready for a world title fight.”
Alex Camponovo, the General Manager and Matchmaker for Thompson Boxing Promotions, believes they have a fighter who is ready to be a road warrior and bring back a title.
“We’ve developed him really well and he’s done everything that he’s supposed to, for a guy his age and the talent level that he’s got. He’s been elevated little by little, moved up little by little, and none of his fights were easy fights,” he stated. “If you look at his last 10 fights, none of them were ‘gimmes.’ Every single one of them meant something for him. He got an NABA title. We got him to move up little by little, inch-by-inch.
“And when he fought Adam Lopez, a lot of people thought he was going to lose. He had all the exposure on television and everything – pretty much nobody knew much about Danny except us and the people that were able to see him here locally. Everybody realized he’s got the tools to do what he’s supposed to do. He’s got that look of a classic boxer; he’s not a knockout artist. He knows how to move in there. He knows exactly how to use the ring. He listens to his corner and he’s a hard-working kid, quiet, nice smile. But when he gets up in the ring, he’s a mean little guy.”
This won’t be the first time Thompson Boxing has gone to the “Land of the Rising Sun” to attempt to win a belt. Going to foreign lands is often a dicey proposition but Japan has a well-earned reputation of being fair to visiting fighters.
“Absolutely,” confirmed Camponovo, who took off to Japan earlier this week. “We’ve had a few experiences in the past. The first one was with Juan Carlos Burgos, when he fought (Hozumi) Hasagawa and obviously he lost a close decision – but he lost in a very good fight. The last time we were there, we unfortunately lost with Carlos Carlson but we faced a guy (former WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka), who had defended his title 11 times; this would be 12.
“So we know about what we’re up against. This one’s a little different because we truly believe Roman has everything to win that title. Kubo’s a good fighter but I don’t think he’s had anybody that looks like Danny.”
Roman says of the defending champion, who won the title via 10-round stoppage over Nehomar Cermeno last April, “He’s taller than me; he’s going to try to use his reach and he’s going to try to box. But I know, once the fight starts, you never know how it’s going to end up.”
Regardless, Roman understands the circumstances in which he is fighting this weekend.
“I know, going into this hometown, it’s not going to be in my favor, so I don’t plan on leaving it to the judges. I plan on taking the fight as soon as I can.”
Can’t wait for ESPN’s “30 for 30” on Tommy Morrison that debuts in September…Television deals are being completed for the “World Boxing Super Series” but still nothing for the States, as of this moment…The Antonio Margarito-Carson Jones fight will be aired on beIN Sports Espanol on Saturday night at 8 p.m. PT/ 11 p.m. ET…With Terence Crawford vacating the IBF 140-pound title, Sergey Lipinets will face Akihiro Kondo for the vacant belt…Oklahoma State as a dynamic offense (James Washington is the nation’s best receiver) but do they have enough on the other side of the ball?…Still not sure about JT Barrett at this point…Yes, I’ll be watching college football all morning, day and night, and then more on Sunday and Labor Day…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.