On New Year's Eve we'll former IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) [京口 紘人] challenging WBA Light Flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10) in Macau. For Kyoguchi the bout will be a chance to become a 2-weight champion whilst Budler will be looking for his first defense of the title.
Today, ahead of the contest, Kyoguchi took part in a media work out in front of the Japanese boxing press.
The fighter told the reporters that he had was excited about the fight, getting another world title and becoming a 2-weight champion.
Kyoguchi revealed that he had been sparring with various styles, and in total it was revealed he had done in excess of 100 rounds of sparring to prepare for Budler, including 3 spars of 12 rounds likely to make sure that there is no issue going the distance. He hadn't just been sparring a lot but also working on specific counter measures to cope with Budler's unorthodox style and high work rate. Part of those counter measures has been working on his jab and body shots, both of which are expected to be key tools against the South African champion.
The work out today saw Kyoguchi sparring, working the mitts with his trainer, shadow boxing and doing various other exercises in what was quite an intense public work out. It's clear that he's in great shape already, and as he displayed in the recent "special spar" with WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗], he's very sharp already.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans got a treat as WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] and former IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) [京口 紘人] took part in a special spar for the fans in attendance.
The spar was arranged on relatively short notices, only being publicly announced yesterday, though was an interest gift for the fans who had the chance to see two world class fighters trading blows.
The spar saw Kenshiro looking incredibly quick, and using that speed to get the advantage early on, but Kyoguchi looked the more powerful man, and seemed like the naturally bigger man, despite only having moved up to Light Flyweight recently.
Notably both two fighters big bouts arranged for the end of the year, with Kenshiro defending his title against Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13) on December 30th and Kyoguchi challenging WBA Light Flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10) the following day. After today's sparring session both men spoke about unification next year, though that obvious depends on both men winning their bout in December.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today it was revealed that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] and former IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) [京口 紘人] will be sharing the ring tomorrow, as they take part in a special spar.
The two fighters both have big bouts arranged for the end of the year, with Kenshiro defending his title against Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13) on December 30th and Kyoguchi challenging WBA Light Flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10) the following day. Despite their upcoming bouts it seems both were eager to take part in this spar tomorrow, and they have got history, having fought in the amateur 4 times, with Kenshiro winning 3 of those 4 bouts.
The "bout" was announced earlier today by the Watanabe gym, who revealed that it will be 2 rounds of 3 minutes and come just before the main event, which is the Japanese Lightweight title fight between Shuichiro Yoshino (8-0, 6) [吉野 修一郎] and Kazumasa Kobayashi (10-7-1, 6) [小林 和優].
The plan seems to be to build towards a possible unification bout in the new year, and they are using this as a sort of platform to build hype around that potential match up. It is however strange to have two men taking part in such an event so close to such big fights. Due to neither man wanting to suffer an injury they will be using 14oz gloves and head gear, to minimise whatever small risk of injury their is from such a spar.
Earlier today it was revealed that Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] had vacated the Japanese Light Flyweight, with his intention being on getting a world title fight in early 2019.
Hisada had held the title since April 2017, when he defeated Kenichi Horikawa for the belt in their third meeting. Since winning the title he has racked up 5 successful defenses, whilst extending his current unbeaten run to 12 bouts dating back well over 3 years.
The 34 year old from Osaka Prefecture has been linked strongly to a world title fight for some time and it seems likely that in 2019 he will either face WBA "regular" champion Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17), who is reportedly in talks to fight in Japan in the Spring for what will be his third fight in the country, or WBC champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗], who defends his title on December 30th.
Despite being unknown in the West Hisada is one of the very, very few fighters to be ranked by all 4 world title bodies, in fact he is ranked in the top 3 by all 4 world title bouts, and could well attempt to lure IBF champion Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30) over to Japan if that's the option he wants to go with.
Due to the Japanese title becoming vacant we're unsure who Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) [堀川 謙一] will be fighting to fill the vacancy. Horikawa earned his shot at the belt in October, and will fight for the title in the Champion Carnival. The #2 ranked fighter is Satoru Todaka (9-2-4, 3) [戸髙達], though he is currently pencilled in for a fight on January 19th, and it's unclear if he will be the man Horikawa fights for the belt.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in October we saw Koji Itagaki (18-13-3, 7) [板垣幸司] come up short in a Japanese title eliminator, suffering a 7th round TKO loss to fellow veteran Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) [堀川 謙一]. It seemed like that would be the end for the 35 year old Itagaki. Given his age, the loss and the fact he was stopped.
Today however he Itagaki announced that he would be back in the ring early next year, challenging unbeaten OPBF Light Flyweight champion Edward Heno (13-0-5, 5), who will be making his third defense.
The bout will take place February 11th at the NTT Cred Hall in Hiroshima, and even Itagaki seemed to suggest that it's going to be his final chance at a title, after having previously com up short in bouts for the WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese titles.
Heno notably won the title in Japan last year, stopping Seita Ogido in what was their second bout, following a very controversial draw. Since then he defended the title against Merlito Sabillo and Jesse Espinas. He's now edging towards a world title fight, and may well see a win over Itagaki as a chance to secure a shot at a champion, potentially Japanese fighter, and WBC champion, Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!