On New Year's Eve we saw Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] claim the WBA "super" Light Flyweight title, as he stopped Hekkie Budler in Macau.
On Tuesday Kyoguchi took part in a press event and spoke about the future as well as his performance against Budler.
In regards to the bout with Budler Kyoguchi stated that he felt he was able to "show more to his boxing than when he was at Minimumweight" and that he was also to "demonstrate his power" against the veteran. (Translated)
In regards to the future Kyoguchi stated he wanted a chance to sell the name, and that he wanted to be a champion who is more well known across Japan. His promoter, Hitoshi Watanabe, also backed up the idea of big fights later in the near future. Stating "It is not immediately, but if you defend it once or twice, there are regular champions and challengers in Japanese as well." (Translated) Hinting at potential fights with WBA "regular" champion Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17), or top Japanese opponents, such as Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] and Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) [小西伶弥], who are both expected to have world title fights of their own announced shortly.
Of course the big fight for Kyoguchi, and fight fans of the lower weights is a bout between the WBA "super" champion and WBC champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗], and that bout was again mentioned, though it looks like it could be an end of year bout rather than a bout earlier in the year.
In regards to when Kyoguchi will be back in the ring it was revealed that they are targeting a May return, we suspect in the early part of May to coincide with the "Golden Week", and May 4th or 5th would seem to make the most sense. Those plans will however be revealed at a later point, and today it seems like it's just a case of getting back in the gym, which he has done without putting much weight on following his end of year bout.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On January 10th the JBC, along with members of the Tokyo Boxing Press, announced the nominations for the 2018 Japanese boxing awards.
The highest award is the Best Fighter, or MVP, award. The nominations for this award are:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] - The current WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] - The current WBO Flyweight champion
Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] - The current WBC Flyweight champion
and Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] - The current WBO Super Featherweight champion
The Skills Award again includes Kenshiro and Tanaka but also:
Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20) [亀田和毅] - The current WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion
Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] - The current WBC Light Flyweight champion
and Jorge Linares (45-4, 28)
The Special award sees Ito and Tanaka being nominated
The KO award see's Naoya Inoue being joined by:
Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡] - The current OPBF Featherweight champion
and Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] - The current Japanese Middleweight champion
The Newcomer award has seen a nice number of candidates, the nominees here are, Takesako along with:
Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] - The current OPBF Minimumweight champion
Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶] - The current OPBF Super Bantamweight champion
Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] - The current Japanese Lightweight champion
Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] - The current Japanese Welterweight champion
The "strive", which appears to be an achievement type of award, has seen the following nominations:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] - The current OPBF Lightweight champion
Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] - The current Japanese Light Welterweight champion
Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] - The former Japanese Flyweight champion
and Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] - The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion
The best fight, at world level has seen 3 bouts being nominated:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成] - WBO Flyweight title fight
Jorge Linares Vs Vasyl Lomachneko - WBA "super" Lightweight title fight
and Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] Vs Juan Carlos Payano - WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title fight
The best fight that wasn't at world level has 4 nominations:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾] - Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight
Valentine Hosokawa [細川バレンタイン] Vs Vladimir Baez - Japanese Light Welterweight title fight
Hironori Mishiro [三代大訓] Vs Masaru Sueyoshi [末吉 大] - OPBF / JBA Super Featherweight unification bout
Hikaru Nishida [西田 光] vs Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] - Japanese Middleweight title fight
The female Fighter of the Year nominations are:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] - The current WBO female Light Welterweight champion
Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子] - The current WBO female Minimumweight champion
Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] - The current WBA female Flyweight champion
The female Fight of the Year nominations were:
Tenkai Tsunami [天海 ツナミ] Vs Chaoz Minowa [チャオズ箕輪]- WBO female Light Flyweight title fight
Nao Ikeyama [池山直] Vs Mika Iwakawa [岩川美花] - WBO Atomweight title fight
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Irma Sanchez - WBA female Flyweight title fight
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子] - WBO female Minimumweight title fight
Voting will take place in January with the winners being awarded at a ceremony on February 8th.
For us the Light Flyweight division is the best in the sport right now, with amazing champions and fantastic contenders, giving it an incredible depth, and combination of styles. Over the new year period we saw WBC champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] retain his title, defeating Saul Juarez (24-9-2, 13), and Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] become the new WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion, dethroning Hekkie Budler (32-4, 10).
It now seems likely we're going to see two more Japanese fighters in Light World title fights in the near future.
It's been long speculated that Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] would be getting a shot in early 2019. It now seems like a deal is close to being finalised for Hisada to face WBA "regular" champion Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17), if not already signed. Hisada was recently pushed way down the IBF rankings, from #3 to #11, and is expected to be dropped completely in a few weeks time when the WBA bout is announced.
The one man who benefited from Hisada's relegation was countryman Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) [小西伶弥], who jumped from #8 to #3, and is now the highest ranked fighter with places #1 and #2 both being vacant. That seems to line up with a potential bout against Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30), who has revealed that he is likely to fight in Japan in March or April. This is interesting as Konishi's promoter is Shinsei who typically do put on a show in March or April in Kobe.
At the moment nothing seems set in stone for those two bouts, but both of the Japanese fighters are known to be chasing title shots, Alvarado is expecting to defend the IBF belt in Japan and Hisada is the mandatory for Canizales, so everything does seem to fit.
This past Monday fight fans had the chance to see Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] become a 2-weight champion, as he ripped the WBA Light Flyweight "Super" title away from South African Hekkie Budler (32-4, 10) in Macau, in one of the final bouts of the year.
He has now arrived back in Japan following that bout, and has told the media that he is looking to secure a big bout in 2019, suggesting he wants to do more than just defend his new title. In fact it's expected that he will chase a unification bout and there has been talk of a possible showdown with WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗].
Kyoguchi and Kenshiro took part in a public spar in December, with both men just weeks away from big fights, and the intention was to help build hype for a possible unification. It's a bout that both are eager to have, with each man wanting to prove they are the best, not just in Japan but in the Light Flyweight division.
It was also reported that Kyoguchi will take some time away from the gym to rest, and was suffering with some minor swelling around his eyes from Monday's bout. He did however appear in very good spirits and was happy to be a 2-weighy champion.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this week British bookies began taking bets on the upcoming WBO Super Flyweight world title bout between Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) [井岡一翔] and Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23). When the market opened Nietes was the slight betting favourite, though money quickly on Ioka to take him to the slight favourite, in what was viewed as a 50-50 bout.
Now we've seen even more money put on to the Japanese fighter who has become the very clear favourite with the bookies.
Ioka opened at Evens and within about 24 hours he was bet down to 4/5. As we write this now British bookies have got him at best priced at 8/13, with one book maker actually pricing him at 4/9 due to the volume of money that has been placed on him. That is a remarkable shortening of his price in just a couple of days and we're expecting to see it move even shorter by fight time as money continues to go on the Japanese fighter.
Nietes, who opened at 8/11, had gone out to 6/5 yesterday and is now available at 24/13, a huge difference as gamblers have avoided going with the Filipino veteran.
Interestingly a similar thing, although less drastic, has been seen in the WBA Light Flyweight "Super" title bout between Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10) and Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) [京口 紘人].
Kyoguchi was the slight betting favourite when the market was opened, at 4/6, with Budler priced at 6/5. As we write this Kyoguchi is still best priced at 4/6, but some have him at 3/8, whilst Budler is available as high as 19/10, significantly better value than he opened at.
With these fights set to take place in about 12 hours it's going to be interesting to see if the change in odds, were a change in the correct direction.
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