One of the under-the-radar stories of 2017, from a Japanese perspective, has been that of Hiroto Kyoguchi (9-0, 7) [京口 紘人]. The Watanabe youngster won the IBF Minimumweight title earlier this year, in a lacklustre bout against Jose Argumedo, having previously won the OPBF title even earlier in the year. Today he continued his rise as he became the first man to stop talented Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (30-3-1-1, 17) in an unexpectedly one-sided contest.
The bout, screened live on Canal 4 in Nicaragua, saw Buitrago starting well, applying his pressure and taking the fight to he challenger. Buitrago, to his credit, fought back but seemed unable to ever get Kyoguichi's respect with the champion closing the space the space between the two very easily. At close range Buitrago had some success, but lacked the power to do the damage that the champion was doing, as he began to chip away at the challenger with heavy hooks and uppercuts.
By round 4 Buitrago was clearly showing signs of slowing down, his eyes swelling and his output dropping whilst Kyoguchi was looking like a steam train, coming forward no matter what was being thrown in his direction. The pressure continued to tell and round by round Buitrago was becoming more and more negative, backing up on to the ropes and throwing “stay away” punches, rather than anything with serious intent.
By the end of round 6 it began to look like the referee was looking for a chance to stop the bout, but every time it seemed like he was going to Buitrago would have a spurt of action, throw back and make Kyoguchi momentarily back off. It wasn't that the challenger could ever hurt the champion, even clean right hands seemed to bounce off him, but it was enough to show life to the referee.
Sadly for Buitrago that fight just left him taking more punishment and in round 8, after several shots snapped his head back, the referee stepped in for the mercy stoppage. Buitrago was still throwing back at the time, but it was a stoppage that few would have complained with.
Having only debuted in April 2016 Kyoguchi's rise to champion has been incredible. This year he has gone 4-0 (2) claimed a regional and world title, defending both belts once, and has been one of the unheralded stars of 2017. He has answered questions regarding his chin, stamina and ability and in 2018 he's going to be a monster of a champion, who perhaps has his eyes on winning a title at 108lbs or unification.
For Buitrago the bout is a clear sign that he needs to give up fighting at Minmumweight. He had had persistent rumours about weight struggles coming in to the bout and now needs to move up and try to resurrect his career at Light Flyweight, before taking too many beatings like this.
In October 2014 Thai fans saw former Muay Thai great Knockout CP Freshmart (12-0, 6) take a very competitive decision win over talented Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (28-2-1-1, 16) to claim the WBA "interim" Minimumweight title. The bout was ultra-competitive with all 3 judges scoring it 115-113 to Knockout, though many suggested that Thai won only because of the scoring in his homeland.
Today, more than a year after their first bout, the two men faced off for a second time and this time there was no doubting the winner with Knockout taking a clear and comprehensive decision win over a lacklustre Buitrago, to claim the WBA “regular” title, and become the mandatory for the WBA “super” title.
The fight started well for the visitor who seemed to be employing a smart game plan and used his reach well, launching the jab against the smaller Knockout. It was however a scouting mission of sorts from the Thai who seemed content to lose the round and see what his foe had in the locker, something we've seen Knockout do in the past.
Following the scouting mission Knockout used his knowledge well and began to go through the gears,clearly winning round as he began to come in quicker and landed some solid right hands as well as hard thudding jabs. Not only was the Thai impressing with his offensive work but his defense was also intelligent, with his head movement being very impressive and often making Buitrago look silly.
From the second round to round 7 it was hard to even make a case of giving a round to the visitor who looked dejected and as if he was out of ideas. He was losing the battle of jabs, eating hard right hands and being forced to take solid jabs to the midsection, something that must have been sickening in the high temperatures that the men were fighting in. Not only was Buitrago out of ideas but it was looking clear as he was backing up whenever Knockout wanted him to and was really looking frustrated.
In round 8 both began to look tired, for Knockout it wasn't a problem, he had run up a huge lead and could afford to slow down, but Buitrago, who needed to take advantage, still seemed unable to find anything to trouble the Thai. The pace continued to slow through rounds 9 and 10 with both happy to fall into a clinch and happy to throw less. Again for the Thai it was fine, he seemed to be doing enough to win the rounds without being forced out of his comfort zone, for Buitrago however it was a case of failing to take advantage of the chance to turn the momentum around.
Having pretty much won 9 successive rounds Knockout continued to slow, completely taking his foot off the gas in the final couple of rounds, where he seemed to prefer to clinch, than really fight. He had the luxury of the huge lead on the cards and seemed happy enough to not worry about the rounds, even then they were still competitive and could have gone the Thai's way without too much of an argument.
As the scorecards were read it seemed clear who had won the bout, and despite the cards being read only in Thai there was no doubting the scores were all in favour of the home fighter, who was given the unanimous decision with scores of 119-109 and 117-111, twice. Scores that were fair and reflected the one sided nature of the bout.
The month of October may have only just begun but we've already kicked off with "world" title action as a new WBA interim Minimumweight champion was crowned in the first bout of the month.
The bout in question saw Thailand's Knockout CP Freshmart (9-0, 5) narrowly defeat Nicaragua's talented Carlos Buitrago (27-1-11, 16) in what was one of the most competitive and fairly scored bouts that we've seen this year with little to split the men overall and no real complain about the scorecards.
The first round and the final round were the easiest to score. In both of those Knockout did very little as he effectively gave them away albeit for different reasons. It seemed he gave the opening round away to try and get a measure of Buitrago's speed and reach which were both clear advantages that the Nicaraguan visitor had, despite that the crowd cheered anything Knockout landed. The final round however was one where Knockout looked too tired to make much of an effort whilst also looking confident that he had done enough to take at least 7 of the rounds, a view the judges all agreed with.
Although he had given away the opening round Knockout came out fighting in the second round throwing bombs with the intention of stopping Buitrago. The shots that Knockout landed were eye catching and backed up the Nicaraguan fighter who seemed shocked by the sudden change in pace from the Thai who had done next to nothing in the opening round.
Rounds 3 and 4 were tough to score with both men giving as good as they got on the whole and these rounds could easily have been split either way on the score cards. They saw Knockout again landing the better shots but Buitrago landing the better volume of shots with his jab in particular being successful. It seemed the crowd were trying their best to sway the judges, cheering everything Knockout did but it they were too close either way and it really was a case of what you prefer between light volume on the back foot or aggressive pressure with heavy but fewer shots.
Through a number of the middle rounds it appeared that Knockout had began to find a groove and was backing up Buitrago whilst landing heavy artillery that caught the eye of everyone. Every punch Knockout threw was thrown with the intention of breaking Buitrago who seemed to depend on his jab, double and tripled, for all of his responses. It was strange that Buitrago seemed so committed to his jab despite how beautiful and flowing it looked through the contest.
In round 7 the Thai suffered a cut around the left eye. It was difficult to tell if it was from a punch or a headclash though thankfully it didn't matter either way the doctor said it was fine to continue and the two went back to work in what appeared to be a short round, as if they forgot to stop the clock whilst the doctor was inspecting Knockout who seemed to narrowly take the round.
The run of rounds that Knockout took in the middle was broken on our card by the 8th round which Buitrago appeared to win despite a late attempt at stealing it from Knockout who appeared to be slowing and suffering from his lack of finesse which led to him missing an awful lot of shots through the round. Missing when you're throwing bombs can take a lot out of a fighter and that appeared to be the case here in the championship rounds, especially the 12th.
Although clearly tiring Knockout gave his all in the following rounds as he tried his best to bag the rounds needed to take the win. As with earlier he was generally out worked though made up for it with his power shots and round 9 in particular was difficult to score either way as the men each gave as good as they got in a round that saw both men landing power shots.
By the end of round 9 swelling around Knockout's face was notable and telling, the effect of the countless jabs that Buitrago had been landing through out the contest. His heart however was still as it was at the start of the fight and he continued to try and stop Buitrago who took everything incredibly well and fired back in his own flurries.
By the start of round 12 it was clear that both were tired though it appeared pretty clear that Knockout was the more tired of the two and Buitrago still appeared to have some spring in his legs and snap on his punches. It showed through the round as Knockout did very little and almost welcomed Buitrago's punches, at one point smiling as if he knew he had done enough to win the bout even if he was giving away the round.
It was close and for the moments leading up to the score cards there was a feeling it could have gone either way. For once all 3 judges agreed on the scores with all 3 returning cards of 115-113 to the Thai and although Buitrago may have felt he did enough the cards were fair with 115-113 either way being very acceptable cards. Neither man had clearly won though when a fighter goes on the road they perhaps need to give their all to make sure they win, at the end it looked like Buitrago had plenty left in the tank. Whilst you do feel sorry when a fighter loses a close one we have less sympathy when it's clear they had plenty left in the tank and chose not to use it. Had Buitrago used up that excess steam there is a strong case that he could have won.
The win for Knockout does put him in the mix of the exciting Minimumweight division though on this performance he's really got work to do. He fought like he had dynamite in his hands but he doesn't have that type of power, he needs to add finesse to his shots and turn down the power slightly for more control. As for Buitrago this will be a painful loss though hopefully it will improve him as we do enjoy watching the Nicaraguan youngster. Strangely this bout may well improve both men in the long run and if that's the case then boxing wins.
Although the boxing day isn't yet over it's fair to say that we have already seen the "Fight of the Day" as Filipino Merlito Sabillo (23-0-1, 12) retained his WBO Minimumweight title in a war with Carlos Buitrago (27-0-1-1, 16).
Sabillo, defending his belt for the second time, knew he was in for a tough fight before the first bell had rang. What he likely didn't expect was just how tough that fight would be as Buitrago, a youngster from Nicaragua, lived up to the high level of expectation put on his shoulders.
The fight started tentatively with both men looking to fight off their jab. Unfortunately for Sabillo this was a style that suited the faster and taller Buitrago who appeared to take the lead after 3 rounds by just out boxing Sabillo.
In round 4 the champion picked up the pace and tried to turn the fight in to a brawl. Buitrago, using his control of range and effective jab, managed to avoid a tear up though Sabillo was coming closer and closer to turning the fight around.
Sabillo, for the first time, managed to cut the distance in round 5 and by round 6 he was beginning to connect with his own shots off on a more regular basis. Buitrago was clearly in the lead but Sabillo's fighting heart was showing through as he fought his back into the fight. Whilst Sabillo was starting to turn it around he certainly wasn't having things all his own way and at several points Buitrago landed bombs on him, shot that would likely have stopped many fighters at 112 never mind 105lbs.
The charge of Sabillo, especially in the later rounds, saw him doing enough to take a number of rounds as he applied more and more pressure. Each round became more about whether you preferred the clear and punching of Buitrago or the tenacity and work rate of Sabillo. By the end however it was clear that neither man deserved to lose. The great start of Buitrago had been a long time ago and with out a doubt Sabillo had closed the gap on the cards during the second half of the fight.
With neither man deserving to lose it's fair to say the judges got it right by scoring a draw. The judges, who were actually split, all agreed it was paper thin with one judge having it 114-114 whilst the others went 115-113 each way leading to a split draw.
Interestingly, for those wanting to allege that Sabillo kept his title due to a "home town decision", the judges were from America, Germany and Japan whilst the referee was American. The close nature of the bout has seen many calling for a rematch and we'd love to see these two up against each other once again, maybe even on a Pacquiao card where the men can have a deservedly large audience.
Note-This was the co-main feature of "Pinoy Pride XXIII", which also saw Donnie Nietes in a action against Sammy Gutierrez of Mexico. Of the two bouts we recommend everyone checks out this one rather than the other.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.