A good week for Japanese fighters continued earlier today as WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (16-0, 11) [京口 紘人] retained his title, and stopped "regular" champion Esteban Bermudez (14-4-2, 10 ) in a brutal beating in Mexico.
The bout, which seemed like a potentially dangerous one on paper for Kyoguchi, ended up being more of a showcase of his ability, and the ineptitude of the referee, who we really don't ever want to see again.
Kyoguchi started razor sharp, and by the end of the opening round he was using Bermudez's head for target practice, particularly with uppercuts which seemed like they couldn't miss. Bermudez was game, strong, big and tough, but he simple lacked the defenses needed to avoid the uppercuts from Kyoguchi, which landed time and time again. Those uppercuts took a toll in round 2, as he left his man bloodied, from what seemed like 4 or 5 cuts around the face. By the end of round 3 Bermudez was fighting through a crimson mask, and it seemed a stoppage was imminent with Bermudez game, tough but totally out classed.
Amazingly however Bermudez toughed it out, and began to have more success of his own in round 4, with a huge left hook late in the round certainly getting Kyoguchi's attention. He also managed to create some space, limiting the opportunities from Kyoguchi to land the uppercuts that had served him well early on. At range Bermudez was having success and Kyoguchi was slowing down, though was still landing huge right hands and getting the better of the action. The blood from Bermudez began to cover Kyoguchi in round 5, as the two men stood and traded blows, with headclashes happening as a result. In round 6 those headclashes saw the referee deduct a point from Kyoguchi, in what a rather harsh deduction given the headclashes were incidental from both men wanting to fight up close and personal. The point deduction almost became immaterial immediately as towards the end of the round Kyguchi detonated a huge right hand on Bermudez and followed it up, and it seemed like Brmudez was set to go down, but something kept him up.
Sadly for Kyoguchi the deduction in round 6 was followed by another in round 7 as he looked to put the Mexican down and was deducted a point for a rabbit shot as Bermudez touched down. This one was more understandable as a deduction, but seemed a heat of the moment combination rather than anything too malicious. It was by the end of the round however that Bermudez was tiring, and the round had also seen him get through a doctor's inspection on the cut, which seemed like it was making it incredibly hard for him to see shots, and avoid them.
Heading into round 8 Bermudez was bloodied, tiring, battered, beaten and breaking up. Kyoguchi knew it and set off looking for a finish in round 8. He was all over Bermudez from the bell and backed his man on the ropes, unloading shots until the referee finally stepped in and saved Bermudez, who probably should have been saved several shots earlier.
For Kyoguchi this was almost the perfect performance, despite clearly having the crowd against him and the referee, who really had a stinker with the first deduction and with the late stoppage. The "Mad Boy" didn't look at all rusty, despite more than a year out of action, and took out a dangerous, tough and powerful fighter in a fashion that was exciting and would certainly help win over fans.
As for Bermudez, it was clear he was levels below Kyoguchi, however we suspect he also won over fans on the back of this performance. He proved his toughness, his will to win and we would love to see more of him against contenders, perhaps someone like a Shokichi Iwata, a Hasanboy Dusmatov, or a the winner of the scheduled bout between Masamichi Yabuki and Thanongsak Simsri.
As for the division in general, this bout will spark more life into a division that has a lot of potential, but really now needs fights between the top, top names. Any combination of Kyoguchi, Kenshiro Teraji, Jonathan Gonzalez, Elwin Soto or Daniel Matellon, would be great to see later this year.
For those interested, the scores at the time of the stoppage were 66-65, 66-65 and 65-66, with the final one of those cards being nothing short of bizarre.
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.