Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw OPBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6) [京口 紘人] record his first defense of the title as he over-came teak tough Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (16-6-5, 4), taking a 12 round decision win of Refugio.
Prior to the bout Kyoguchi had steam rolled his first 6 opponents, in a combined 12 rounds. Although he had looked like a star in the making those 6 bouts had left us asking some questions in regards to his stamina and what he does when he simply can't blitz an opponent. Today however he answered those questions, and did so real style, against a man who had come to more than just survive.
From the off Kyoguchi began the bout fast, looking to replicate his success from other bouts, pressive the action and looking to take out his man very quickly. Refugio however was unwilling to go down and unwilling to just take the loss, instead choosing to fight back, and use his counter shots well to make Kyoguchi think twice about steaming in.
Due to the counters and Refugio's success he was doing more than just surviving but also winning some rounds, and when the scores were announced after the 4th round the scores were 40-36, 39-37 and 39-38, with all 3 favouring the champion.
Kyoguchi slightly changed his approach in the middle rounds, pressing the action more intelligently and lowering his output whilst making every shot count. That change saw him extending his lead after 8 rounds, with the score cards then reading 77-75, 78-75 and 79-73.
Although Kyoguchi could have relaxed, given his his lead going in tot he final found rounds, and almost picked his way to a win, he decided that he was wanting to try and continue his KO streak. In the final round he went for the finish but Refugio, using his feet really well, avoided the big blows Kyoguchi was sending his way, and managed to fiddle his way to the final bell.
Having put in a good effort early on Refugio really was forced to think differently in the later rounds, and failed to take even a share of the last 4 rounds with Kyoguchi taking a unanimous decision, with scores of 117-111, 118-111 and 119-109.
After the win sources in Japan have indicated that the bout was essentially a dummy run for Kyoguchi before a possible world title fight later in the year. Going 12 wasn't and out-and-out part of the plan, but will have done no harm at all for the youngster ahead of a title bout in a few months time. For Refugio the bout proved his toughness, and it's clear that he'll be invited back to Japan in the future given his effort, but against a fighter like Kyoguchi he really was up against it.
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
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