11.1 Clash! Hiroto Kyoguchi’s white paper: “I want to surpass Kenshiro as a living creature”.
WBA Light Flyweight Super Champion
11.1 WBA & WBC Light Flyweight Unification Bout
Amateur rivals finally collide
Strategy is important, but I want to surpass him not in terms of technique, but in terms of his biology, his essence as a fighter. I want to have a match that I can swallow with my heart.”
WBA super champion Hiroto Kyoguchi, who is preparing for a unification bout with WBC light flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (30) on November 1, is the WBA super champion in the same weight class. WBA same-class champion Hiroto Kyoguchi, 28, quietly expressed his enthusiasm before his unification bout with WBC light flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji, 30, on November 1.
After graduating from Osaka University of Commerce, he moved to Tokyo in 2004 and joined the Watanabe Gym. One year and three months after turning pro, Kyoguchi won the world title in his eighth fight. He defended and vacated it.’ On New Year’s Eve of 2006, he won the WBA light flyweight belt he currently holds. He is currently 16-0 with 11 KOs.
He says he began to be aware of Kenshiro “around the time I won the light flyweight belt.
I have the impression that Kenshiro is an all-around great fighter, and his offense, defense, and stamina are all top-notch.
When Kyoguchi became the WBA light flyweight champion, Kenshiro was the WBC champion in the same weight class. Both were undefeated since their professional debuts in the same weight class. Both Kyoguchi and his fans had hoped for a unification fight between the rivals, who had fought each other four times as amateurs in college, but…
At the time, he had defended his WBC title five times, and his priority was to break Gushiken Yoshitaka’s (67) record of 13 consecutive defenses of the world title. He did not take me up on my request to fight him.
Kenshiro was suspended for three months in July 2008 for trespassing and damaging property, and his eighth defense was postponed. In September of the following year, he suffered a TKO loss to Masamichi Yabuki (30) and fell from the title.
Kyoguchi, on the other hand, remained undefeated, making his third defense in Dallas, Texas, and his fourth in Guadalajara, Mexico, both by KO.
Of particular note was the fight in Mexico in June of this year, where the referee inexplicably deducted points for batting in the 6th round and for a rabbit punch (an attack to the back of the head) in the 7th round. The referee’s action was inexplicable, as he was benched in the 6th round and deducted a point for a rabbit punch (an attack on the back of the head) in the 7th round. Although the second referee instructed the fighters not to panic, they rushed in immediately after the start of the eighth round. He was booed loudly by the audience and called a referee stoppage while a glass of drink was thrown at him.
He said, “It’s a sense of smell. I was going for the knockout. If the fight had not been decided in that round, it would have been a different story. I think I peeled off my skin in that fight. Most of the Japanese world champions have only fought in Japan, so I feel I have a status by winning overseas.
While Kyoguchi was defending his title in hostile territory, Kenshiro won his return match against Yabuki to regain the title, and the Kyoguchi fight was finally set to take place.
If Kenshiro had remained undefeated (with a record of 20 fights, 19 wins and 1 loss), the unification match would have been more exciting. Frankly speaking, I feel that his season has passed. His attitude is different from when I requested a fight in the past, and since it is a unification match without a defense in between, I think it is a little cunning. I’ve completed two defenses overseas, so I’ve increased my value and expanded my options.”
Despite his frustration, Kyoguchi’s confidence was evident in every word he said.
Knowing that he lost, I am sure Kenshiro has become even stronger. I have the image that he has become stronger not only as a boxer but also as a human being. I think both fighters are the strongest ever. How much of yourself can you show in the ring on the day of the fight? I think that will be the difference between the two. Of course, I will win.
Watanabe Hitoshi, president of Watanabe Gym, who has trained five world champions, including Kyoguchi, also gave his approval.
Teraji’s outboxing will be surpassed by Kyoguchi’s in-fighting. His experience in the ring overseas should be a boon to him.
Fists filled with each fighter’s passion will finally cross.
From the October 21, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Interview and text by： Soichi Hayashi (nonfiction writer) Photographed by： Takeshi Kinugawa