By - George Delis (@Delisketo)
On September 25, undefeated world champion Hiroto Kyoguchi makes his light flyweight debut, against Tibo Monabesa at Korakuen Hall.
Hiroto Kyoguchi (10-0 / 7 KOs) was initiated into martial arts from a very young age, since both his father and uncle were karate masters, he took up the sport when he was only 3 years old. His focus was shifted to boxing 9 years later when he saw his brother training in a local Osaka gym. During his University years, he won the 69th National Sports Festival (2014), which is considered to be Japan’s premier sports event and also became captain of the boxing team. In 2015, he entered the 5th Taipei City Cup International Boxing Tournament, winning second place. Kyoguchi’s amateur record was 52-14.
Turned pro in 2016, Kyoguchi fought 5 times that year, winning all of his bouts via KO/TKO within 3 rounds. His first championship victory came on February of 2017 when he stopped Filipino fighter Armando de la Cruz (25-14*), with some lethal body shots, to win the OPBF Minimumweight title.
On July 23, 2017, the Osaka born star received an IBF world title opportunity against Jose Argumedo (20-3*), the man who defeated Katsunari Takayama for the same belt in 2015. Kyoguchi, with his fast combinations, controlled the fight, keeping him ahead on the judges score cards. Argumedo was no pushover though as he displayed a strong offense for a few rounds, not enough though to win him the fight. In the 9th round, Kyoguchi knocked the champion down after landing a well calculated left hook followed by a series of strikes. The barrage continued throughout the remaining rounds, much to the excitement of the Japanese fans. In the end, Kyoguchi got the unanimous decision and became the world champion, only 15 months after his pro debut.
Kyoguchi marked his first successful title defense over 3 time world title contender Carlos Buitrago (30-2*). Much like the previous bout, the Japanese boxer was in full control, even came close to ending the fight in the 6th round. After 2 more action packed rounds, Kyoguchi went for the kill in the 8th, putting the hurt on the challenger, leading to the referee stopping the fight. His second and last defense was against Vince Paras (13-0*) this past May.
Eventually, Kyoguchi decided to vacate his title and move up a weight class, as he looks on making an impact in the division, he conquered as an amateur. His light flyweight pro debut will take place next Tuesday when he takes on unbeaten Indonesian fighter, Tibo Monabesa (18-0 / 8 KOs). Kyoguchi’s already ranked amongst the top 5 of the division (WBA #2 / WBC #3 / IBF #5 – August rankings) so it’s safe to say that he’s only one or two wins away from competing again for a world championship. Monabesa will be a tough test as he is also a world ranked boxer (WBA #6 / WBC #13 / WBO # 8 – August rankings). However the experience factor lies with Kyoguchi here, despite being the younger of the two, since he has had a much more accomplished career, both as an amateur and as a pro. To conclude with, it’s important to point out that Hekkie Budler, the WBA Super champion, has expressed interest in fighting Kyoguchi for the strap. So if Kyoguchi is victorious against Monabesa, we could be seeing these two box for the world title, sooner or later.
*Denotes record leading into the fight
Courtesy of George Delis (@Delisketo)
The Japanese local scene will witness another interesting match up this Thursday on the June 14th between Hiroaki Teshigawara and Teiru Kinoshita for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title.
Hiroaki Teshigawara (16-2-2, 9), the defending champion, has climbed the Bantamweight rankings quite fast, despite having to deal with a few injuries in the past. A dynamic and exciting boxer, Teshigawara won his first major championship on October of 2017 after he obliterated the much more experienced Jetro Pabustan (29-4-6*) giving the Filipino his only KO loss in the ring (video below). In just 4 months, the Japanese prodigy successfully defended his belt against another well versed opponent in Jason Canoy (27-7-2*), earning the unanimous decision after a hard fought battle.
Teiru Kinoshita (26-2-1, 9) is a former Japanese title holder and the #1 contender for Hiroaki’s WBO championship, has had his ups and downs in his 10 years as a pro. He went undefeated at 13-0-1 when he beat Go Onaga (17-1-2*) for the Japanese Super Flyweight strap. Teiru accumulated 5 successful title defenses over the like of Kenji Oba (22-1-2*) and Toyoto Shiraishi (23-6-1*) before he challenged Zolani Tete in 2012 (now WBO Bantamweight champion, for the IBF Super Flyweight title). After his loss, he gathered 6 more wins, although against much inferior opponents, and in 2017 tried to capture once more the IBF title but once again came up short.
This fight means a lot for both fighters. Teshigawara is currently ranked #7 by the WBO and is on a 4 fight winning streak. A win here has huge implications, considering the WBSS Bantamweight tournament that’s looming around the corner. For Kinoshita, this fight means redemption and a chance to prove himself worthy to the Japanese fans.
Predicition: Teshigawara has the edge here. He’s the younger fighter of the two, has the higher KO ratio and is continuously competing against top tier opponents. While he is moving up the ladder, Teiru is struggling to keep up with the rest of the guys. The champion’s hunger to secure a world title shot or a spot at the WBSS, will give him the focus that he needs to effectively dispose of his rival.
*The boxer’s record before the fight
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