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!
Just a few moments ago the ESPN writer Salvador Rodriguez reported that he had heard former multi-time world champion Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] had been lined up for another world title fight on May 8th as part of a stacked card in the US!
The Japanese veteran is, reportedly, the next opponent for WBO Light Flyweight champion Elwin Soto (18-1, 12), with the bout set to take place at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, as part of the under-card to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez Vs Billy Joe Saunders.
The report from Mr Rodriguez, which can be read here in in Spanish, explains that the bout will likely be announced early next week.
For those who haven't followed the lower weights over the last decade or so Takayama is a true legend of the lower weights. He is a former WBC, WBA "interim" and 2-time IBF and WBO Minimumweight champion who has fought a legitimate who's who of the lower weights. During a 41 fight career he has shared the ring with Eagle Den Junlaphan, Yutaka Niida, Roman Gonzalez, Nkosinathi Joyi, Mario Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez Jr and Jose Argumedo. At 37 however time is ticking in his career and it's clear he is wanting one more world title reign.
Interestingly Takayama has been one of the few Japanese fighters who has been willing to fight anywhere and has previously challenged for world titles in South Africa and Mexico, as well as his homeland of Japan
As for Soto a win here would take us one step closer to setting up a WBO/WBA "Super" world title unification bout between Soto and Japanese star Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人], who spoke about a contest with Soto earlier this week.
Soto won the WBO title in 2019, when he scored an upset win over Angel Acosta. Since then he has been somewhat under-whelming, taking a close decision win over Edward Heno and being pushed 12 rounds but Carlos Buitrago, in a competitive bout. At his best Soto looks to be a monster, but since winning the title it's clear he is still learning on the job and the 24 year old is still very much a work in progress. Albeit a very exciting and talented work in progress.
Earlier today WBA "Super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] took part in an online press conference, speaking to the press in Japan, with the event taking part before he began working out at the Watanabe Gym.
At the event Kyoguchi spoke about his last bout, which saw him score a TKO win over Axel Aragon Vega at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. He explained "I was able to do boxing differently in the previous bout, so I want to pursue it. I want to increase the withdrawal of offense and defense." Explaining that he was fighting at a mid range more than usual, and went on to explain he wanted to work on that in the future.
In regards to what the bout meant he explained "I'm in an environment where big matches can be realized, so I've broadened my horizons now. It's a good experience for me to be able to play in the United States".
After the win over Vega in March Kyoguchi flew back then went through 2 weeks of quarantine, due to the on going pandemic. When that was over he went to Osaka to visit his family and spend time with his father, who recently had surgery to treat cancer.
Following his time with family Kyoguchi returned back to Tokyo and has been helping Watanabe Gym stablemate Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗] prepare to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title against Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-0, 3) [川満俊輝], with that bout set for May 23rd.
In regards to what is next for Kyoguchi things are a little bit unclear, though it is known that the team of 20 year old Thai fighter Thanongsak Simsri (15-0, 13) is attempting to secure a fight with Kyoguchi. Longer term however Kyoguchi revealed he's interested in a unification bout with WBO champion Elwin Soto (18-1, 12). That bout became a lot more likely recently, when Soto signed with Matchroom, the same promotional stable that is now promoting Kyoguchi. In regards to that potential bout, Kyoguchi stated "I think the chances have become more realistic. I'm interested in the WBO belt because I haven't held it yet. I think it may happen by the end of the year."
Rather notably Kyoguchi downplayed a bout with the winner of the upcoming WBC Light Flyweight title bout, which will see champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] taking on Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也].
In regards to that bout he seemed to suggest that despite having not won the WBC title he has beaten Hisada and isn't particularly interested in facing the winner. Essentially putting the kibosh on a potential Kyoguchi Vs Kenshiro bout that lower fights have been clamouring for for several years now.
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