The clash of rising Asian featherweight contenders pitted two knockout artists against one another, but it was karate ace Matsushima’s wrestling skills that took him to victory.
Koyomi Matsushima makes a HUGE splash in the featherweight division with a unanimous decision win over Pretty Boy Kwon Won Il!: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, 15 June 2019
Matsushima came out fast in search of the early takedown and eventually got his wish at the third time of asking with a powerful double-leg. However, his Korean rival got back to his feet and established a pattern for the opening round.
Takedowns were followed by swift get-ups as the pair battled back and forth before Kwon finally made a breakthrough when he launched into a spectacular flying knee that drew gasps from the Shanghai crowd.
That strike seemed to spark a surge of confidence from “Pretty Boy,” who began to find a home for his strikes as the round came to a close.
SLAM CITY!: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, June 15, 2019
After the relentless pace of the opening round, “Moushigo” adopted a more methodical approach as he kept the pressure on the South Korean star.
The Japanese contender started the second stanza by punching his way into range before he took his rival down to the canvas and used his smothering ground game to keep Kwon off his feet. The 26-year-old punished him with knees and punches as he attempted to get back to his feet.
Kwon briefly threatened with a D’Arce choke, but was otherwise dominated on the mat by the Yokohama native, who continued to control the pace and direction of the contest.
Matsushima resumed his wrestle-first approach to the bout in the third and final round as he denied the Korean time and space to plant his feet and use his strikes.
The Kyokushin karate black belt’s grappling skill was too much for Kwon to handle, and he underlined his dominance with a huge slam in the middle of the ring.
That cemented Matsushima’s victory as he claimed the unanimous decision to improve his record to 11-3 and move him one step closer to a shot at the ONE Featherweight World Title.