Reigning Shooto Lightweight Champion, Koshi Matsumoto, interviews ahead of his Pancrase
debut. He talks of plural canceled matches and his reincarnation as he breaks a one-year
hiatus in this Lightweight bout against former DEEP Featherweight Champion, Hiroto
–With one thing and another, it has been a year since you last fought. How are you feeling now?
“Due to the coronavirus, it’d been postponed three times, and my opponent has changed, but I’m very grateful to Pancrase for being consistent. Even with all of that, I’ve been able to
train without a break, so it feels good to finally get to test myself.”
–How have you been preparing for this?
“Back in March and April, we couldn’t really see how things were going, so I had to train on my own for a short time. Because of that, I had time to think for myself, try new things, and train with a new style. I looked again at my past fights objectively, looking for my holes or where I’m lacking. From the outside, I scrutinized my fights, so that when I could spar again, I could do some problem shooting. I feel I was able to see and change a lot.”
–Your image is a smart fighter. Where do you feel you have evolved recently?
“First of all, my ability to think more for myself and be objective. My biggest growth this year is my perspective feels broader now. I can think about more than just my opponents.”
–What do you want to show the Pancrase fans in your promotional debut?
“Well, joining the promotion is a challenge for me, I’m expecting something new. It’ll be like a chemical reaction – a fresh new fusion for me – and I’ve got a great opponent. It’s a match the fans wouldn’t normally see.”
–What are you expecting from Hiroto Uesako?
“His fight record is similar to mine, he’s gathered a lot of experience, and he has a lot of KOs. He’s definitely a fight finisher. Watching his fights in Pancrase and RIZIN, even if he gets caught, he fires back hard, so I have to be most wary of that. He’s got good attacks and he’s able to use them with a killer instinct. That’s the biggest thing.”
–Do you have a strategy for his striking?
“I think the best thing for me is to not back down from his attacks and keep pushing forward.”
–How do you see the fight playing out?
“[Uesako’s] base is wrestling, but he’s a good striker. A lot of his fights are stand up, but for me I can fight on the feet or the mat. I think from the first contact I’ll find out how to put pressure on him, and then work that to my advantage.”
–What can we expect from Koshi Matsumoto this time?
“I haven’t been able to fight this year so far, but I’ve been grinding away at training, building myself up. The past is behind me, and I’ve reinvented myself. I’m hoping the fans will see that, and I’m also looking forward to what I can do.”