Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima fell short in his first attempt to claim a ONE World Title last year, but he plans to start working his way back to the top by winning a battle of strikers at ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE.
This Friday, 7 February, the Japanese featherweight will take on “The Fighting God” Kim Jae Woong in a contest that will kick off the main card in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The South Korean knockout artist exploded onto the global stage in 2019 with an incredible finish over Rafael Nunes, but that does not faze Matsushima – he is more excited than ever to return to action.
“As it gets closer I’m training more in the final stages. I’m starting to get more hyped, and now I just want to get in there as soon as possible,” he says.
Matsushima’s last two bouts have seen him employ a wrestling-heavy strategy and Kim expects more of the same from him at the Istora Senayan, but “Moushigo’s” mixed martial arts skills are built on a striking foundation, and it seems like he is keen to show off his power again.
Though he has spent some extra time working on his grappling in recent months, the Kyokushin karate black belt has also tried to upgrade his punches and footwork so that he can earn a memorable victory like the one that launched his ONE career.
“I joined a boxing gym and revamped my striking,” he says.
“[Kim] is a complete striker. He’ll be thinking that I’m just a grappler, so I want to win with solid strikes. I want to show that I can take control with my movement without getting caught up in his game.
“He has a very distinct, strong, pressure style of striking. He’s on a roll now, so I want to stop him decisively. He fights in boxing range, so I have to keep launching my attacks from outside that range.”
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Matsushima may like his chances, but he also recognizes the strength and danger that the Extreme Combat and Top Gym BF representative poses.
Kim has a record as an undefeated boxer and has claimed six of his 10 wins in mixed martial arts via knockout. Plus, his debut demonstrated a fearless warrior spirit that makes him a formidable foe in a toe-to-toe battle.
“He’s physically very strong. There’s that, and it’s like he’s not scared of anything when his momentum gets going. I think that’s his strength – I don’t think it’ll be easy to take him down,” explains “Moushigo.”
“We might take some time to feel each other out. I don’t want to fight in his range, but I think he often kicks low from outside his range, so I could search for something there.”
The Pancrase ISM Yokohama ace has also seen how dangerous “The Fighting God” is with his hands, but he believes that his best bet is to focus on his own strengths.
“Of course, in his last match he won by body blow, so I think he’s strong there, but there’s no need for me to focus on that,” he adds.
“If I do, then I won’t move well. First of all, I want to focus on my movement. I think my takedowns are good enough, so that’s where my game is. I’ve been sparring constantly to go for the takedowns and not to wait for his attacks. If I can do that in the match, it’ll go well.
“I feel that he’s only shown his strong points so far, so I have to weather [what he has] and bring out my own strong points. I think he said he thinks he can beat me, so I’m out to prove him wrong.”