A tremendous featherweight showdown is at hand when #3-ranked featherweight contender Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima of Japan takes on #5-ranked featherweight and grappling icon Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon of the United States.
Matsushima and Tonon lock horns in the co-main event of ONE: BIG BANG, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore this Friday, 4 December.
It’s a bout that has serious implications in the featherweight rankings. The winner is believed to be next in line for a shot at the ONE Featherweight World Title, currently held by newly-crowned champion Thanh Le.
Koyomi Matsushima wants to beat Tonon and earn himself another crack at ONE gold.
“There are strong guys above me such as Martin Nguyen and Thanh Le, and I want to beat those two ultimately. I think I can grow and become stronger by fighting against Tonon,” said Matsushima.
Matsushima is a one-time featherweight world title challenger. He took on Nguyen, the former champion, back in August of 2019, losing by second-round technical knockout in a highly-competitive match.
Against Tonon, Matsushima faces a multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, known for his tenacious submissions. Tonon is a member of the infamous Danaher Death Squad, a collection of dangerous grapplers who trained under renowned coach John Danaher at Renzo Gracie Academy.
Tonon got his start on the mats under equally renowned Tom DeBlass at Ocean County BJJ and became one of DeBlass’ most dedicated students.
Needless to say, Tonon’s grappling reputation certainly precedes him. Although Matsushima understands exactly what kind of fighter he is up against, he also believes Tonon is not a one-trick pony. As such, he has prepared himself accordingly for the specific problems Tonon brings to the table.
“Without a doubt, he is a grappling specialist, and I think because he is confident of being a grappling specialist, he can have a solid game in striking, too. So, I consider him an all-around athlete more than everyone imagines, and I am preparing myself accordingly. I was watching his bouts, thinking he may have strong fists. So, I want to land my strikes without taking those punches,” said Matsushima.
“I had opportunities to train with strong Japanese grapplers like Masakazu Imanari and Kenta Iwamoto, and I think I have done a good job of preparing. I am not particularly a grappling specialist, so they taught me many detailed things. They also told me that I should consider the distance when I compete against Tonon.”
ONE: BIG BANG is the first of ONE Championship’s live event offerings in the month of December. The main event features a showdown between ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia of the Ukraine and challenger Murat “The Butcher” Aygun of the Netherlands.
If Matsushima can defeat Tonon, he could make a strong case for another shot at ONE Championship gold. Nevertheless, whoever wins this bout will certainly be in a great position. Matsushima promises fans they will witness something special.
“You might think Tonon has exceptional strength in the featherweight division, but I will demolish the illusion. So, please watch out for this bout,” said Matsushima.