Earlier today the ever reliable Massimo Palarchi informed us that a date and venue had seemingly been decided for the much postponed WBA Light Flyweight unification bout between "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] and "regular" champion Esteban Bermudez (14-3-2, 10).
Reportedly the bout, which had been pencilled in for earlier this year, is now set for June 10th in Mexico City.
For Kyoguchi the bout will be his first in over a year, and his first in Mexico. He was last seen back in March 2021, when he scored a TKO win over Axel Aragon Vega, who was forced to retire due to a hand injury. Amazingly that's Kyoguchi's only fight since the start of the pandemic, and he really has lost a lot of the moment he has been building before hand. He is now co-promoted by Matchroom, along with the Watanabe Gym, but injuries and inactivity has really not allowed him to shine on DAZN in the way he would have wanted. Saying that he is regarded by many as the best fighter at 108lbs, and his WBA title reign dates back 2018, when he beat Hekkie Budler for the title in arguably his best performance to date.
As for Bermudez the 26 year old scores a huge upset win in May 2021, when he stopped Carlos Canizales in 6 rounds to claim the WBA regular title, but has sadly been inactive since then with several bouts falling through. The win over Canizales was a huge shocker, but other than that there is very, very little on his record. He looked dangerous in that win, but sadly it's hard to know if he's genuine world class, or whether he was in the right place at the right time to beat Canizales, who has been out of the ring for more than 2 years.
Yesterday we saw Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11) [寺地 拳四朗] reclaim the WBC Light Flyweight title, stopping Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12) [佐藤政道] in 3 rounds to take the title back. Today, following that win, Kenshiro attended a press conference to talk about the bout, his performance and what's next for the "Amazing Boy".
Regarding getting the title back, Kenshiro stated he was happy and like he was in a dream, whilst admitting he didn't sleep much last night. He stated that his social media account on LINE, a Japanese social media service, blew up, with hundreds of messages following the win.
Regarding strategy it seemed there was a deliberate change in how Kenshiro fights, and that was spoken about by the fighter and his trainer, who explained that they had more success in fighting than usual, and that that was part of the game plan to defeat Yabuki. They also stated that would be incorporated more regularly in how the champion fights, adding "the opponents will be confused", as if to note it's an extra tool in his locker that he can use as and when he needs to. It was also explained that his focus during training was on improving his defense, with Kenta Kato offering specific technical changes to how Kenshiro uses defense, and making it more focused on correct movements to allow him to get close, as he did against Yabuki.
Interestingly he Kenshiro was said to have been "awakened" by the loss, and added "Thanks to Yabuki, I became stronger. Thank you."
As for the future, it's unclear what is next for Kenshiro, and we have seen him being called out by Cuban talent Daniel Matellon on social media, though there was hints that Kenshiro would be looking at unification bouts and potentially moving weight, a huge change in focus from where he was a year ago, when he was hunting the Japanese defenses record. One name that was uttered as a possible bout for the champion was WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人], though Kenshiro's team neither confirmed or denied the potential of that bout.
Earlier today our good friend Julius Julianis reported that WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] had been ordered to defend his title against recently crowned "regular" champion Esteban Bermudez (14-3-2, 10), who shocked the boxing world in May with a huge upset against Carlos Canizales.
According to Jake Donovan, writing for Boxing Scene, the two teams have been told that they have until July 11th to reach a deal for the fight before it goes to purse bids. Sadly the bout is reported to be an over-due mandatory, meaning wiggle room for a potential unification bout between Kyoguchi and WBO champion Elwin Soto isn't really there in the way fans had hoped.
Kyoguchi has held the WBA title since the very end of 2018, when he stopped Hekkie Budlerand since winning the title he had made 3 defenses, including one previous mandatory, against fellow Japanese fighter Tetsuya Hisada [久田 哲也] in 2019. Since winning the title he has signed with Matchroom, made his US debut, beating Axel Aragon Vega back in March, and become one of the main faces in Japanese boxing.
Bermudez on the other hand was a complete unknown until he upset Canizales around 2 weeks ago. There was very, very little of note on his record, with his most noteworthy win, prior to the Canizales bout, being a KO over former WBC Minimumweight champion Oswaldo Novoa. Against Kyoguchi he will go in as a massive under-dog, but would get a very, very big opportunity, and a likely career high pay day.
Sadly for Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (15-0, 13), who was supposed to face Kyoguchi last year before the champion tested positive for Covid19, it appears that his wait for a shot at the Japanese champion will be extended again, and it may well be that we never actually end up seeing that fight.
Earlier today it was announced that WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] would be back in the ring on June 7th, however he wouldn't be defending his title. Instead the unbeaten 2-weight world champion would be taking part in an exhibition, to help add some extra attention to a show being promoted by Watanabe Gym, the gym that has promoted Kyoguchi since his debut.
His opponent for the session wasn't confirmed, though it was stated that Kyoguchi's sparring will serve as the chief support bout, for Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] who will defend his title against Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎].
The focus for this spar seems to be focused on pleasing local fan at Korakuen Hall, and it is now close to 3 years since Kyoguchi last fought in the "Holy Land" of Japanese boxing, with his last fight there being against Tibo Monabesa back in September 2018.
Kyoguchi stated that he was asked by Watanabe gym to take part and he stated that he would.
It's worth noting that Kyoguchi will also begin full scale training in June, to help prepare for his next bout, which is expected in the Fall, potentially against WBO champion Elwin Soto or against Thai Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (15-0, 13), who he was supposed to face last year before testing positive for Covid19.
On Friday ESPN writer Salvador Rodriguez reported that former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] would be challenging WBO Light Flyweight champion Elwin Soto (18-1, 12) on May 8th. Just a day after Rodriguez's report that bout was officially confirmed as Matchroom announced the full line up for the May 8th card.
The bout appears to be lined up as the main support bout on the show, supporting the huge Super Middleweight bout between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders, and is a bout that promises to be hugely exciting, even if it will be massively over shadowed by the main event.
For those who haven't seen Takayama before he's a fighter who was, at one point, the sort of man who always put on a show, with an exciting, aggressive style, built around high volume offense, and being willing to take one to land one. When he needed to. He was a talented boxer, but had a real war monger mentality. Sadly that mentality sad him take a lot of punishment and in the later part of his career his bouts were regularly ended early due to cuts, with 3 technical decisions in his 5 most recent bouts. Internationally however he is best known for his 2014 war with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, in what was regarded by many as the fight of the year.
Soto on the other hand is a young Mexican puncher who burst on to the scene in 2019, when he upset Angel Acosta and claimed the WBO title. Since then he has defended the belt twice, but has left us wondering just how much has improved since winning the title. Despite not looking incredible in his two defenses he will be the clear favourite here and a win over Takayama will almost certainly help set up a unification bout with WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人].
On the subject of Kyoguchi it's worth noting that Takayama had originally wanted to face his countryman, before getting the offer to face Soto instead.
For those who haven't seen Takayama's bout with Rodriguez we've included that below. Enjoy!
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