Perspective of “Another Champion” in the Second Position at the Terazuchi-Kyoguchi World Match | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Perspective of “Another Champion” in the Second Position at the Terazuchi-Kyoguchi World Match

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As the cherry blossoms of the same period

The venue was big, and the crowd cheered loudly. I felt once again that Kyoguchi was a great guy to go up there.

Punches from both fighters exchanged again and again. It was a fight that will go down in history.

WBO minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi entered the ring as a second for the WBC/WBA unified light flyweight title match between Kenshiro Teraji and Hiroto Kyoguchi on November 1. Taniguchi and Kyoguchi are the same age, and after graduating from college in March 2016, they moved to Tokyo together and joined the dormitory at Watanabe Gym, the cherry on top of their classmates.

Kyoguchi won a world title in his eighth professional fight, one year and three months after his debut, while Taniguchi took five years and seven months to win the WBO belt. During that time, he lost three fights. At all times, Kyoguchi encouraged him, saying, “There’s no reason why you can’t be world champ, since you train harder than I do.

To be honest, there was a time when I felt jealous of Kyoguchi. But when I challenged for the world title for the first time, I realized how much pressure he was under. Since then, I respect him with all my heart, and I have come to appreciate Kyoguchi’s advice.”

Kyoguchi, who is unbeaten in 16 fights with 11 KOs and had cleared his last two defenses overseas, lost the WBA title this time by KO at 2:36 of the seventh round in a unification bout.

Kyoguchi, of course, and I have sparred with Teraji-san several times. The first time, he beat me up. The second time was a little better, but it seemed like he scored points in every round. He was very skillful at keeping his distance, and I couldn’t get inside. Your jab was good and powerful. When I tried to forcefully stuff him, right uppercuts and straight rights flew.

This time, Kyoguchi also had a countermeasure against jabs. But I was able to block it, but the next moment I had to make a move or return a punch, and I told him so at the interval after the first round. In the second round, I was able to correct that right away.

Nevertheless, it was still Teraji who set the pace. Taniguchi was concerned that Kyoguchi was punching after receiving a jab. So he said, “The time for blocking is too long. I advised him to take one more tempo and return faster,” and sent him off.

When you come back after three rounds, you don’t have to force me to jab at each other, so feel free to come in from the right, from the bottom, or from the hook. I told him it’s okay if he gets off balance.”

Still, the match continued at Teraji’s distance.

In the fourth, he was again getting fewer returns and spending more time blocking, so that’s what I warned him about.”

Kyoguchi fought back with desperate moves, but…

The climax of this unification bout came in the fifth round at 34 seconds. Kyoguchi was hit by a straight right hand from Teraji and went down. After that, Kyoguchi surmounted the WBC champion’s rush and came out firing. With 30 seconds left in the fight, Teraji staggered and Kyoguchi created a situation where he thought he might be able to take the fight back down.

Taniguchi reflected.

At the interval after the fifth inning, I told him, ‘I think it’s working, so if you can go, go!’ I told him.”

In the sixth round, however, both fighters slowed down, giving Terachi time to recover.

Kyoguchi must have taken some damage. Teraji was trying not to let him go in. I feel that if the seconds had said something different there, there might have been a different outcome.

After the same round, Taniguchi returned to his corner and said to Kyoguchi.

‘My opponent will come to me, so I just need to relax and put my punches down rather than forcing him to hit.’

In the seventh round, Kyoguchi’s straight right hand caught Teraji in the face at one point, but he was unable to land his signature combination, accented by a left uppercut. The referee then stopped the fight when the WBC champion was sent flying into the ropes after eating a double straight right hand.

All of Teraji’s punches were very powerful.

I was also selfless the whole time, so I don’t know what caused me to lose. But Teraji’s one-two that took the first down was brilliant, even though he was my opponent. This time, Kyoguchi was practicing a right cross to match his opponent’s jab. I don’t know if it worked or not, but he hit a few times. It’s a tarareba, but I wish I could connect with a left uppercut or a straight left …… from there.

Teraji-san was very skillful in not stopping when he was hit by Kyoguchi’s punches, stepping back and shaking his head, and not allowing close combat. I feel that he could have done more. He said, ‘I don’t remember because my memory is gone after going down in the 5th round,’ but the way he came forward like a man in that condition must have been the result of his practice.”

Taniguchi, who had witnessed Kyoguchi’s training in the same space, said.

I became a world champion because of Kyoguchi’s presence. After Ryoichi Taguchi (former WBA/IBF light flyweight champion) retired, he has been leading the fighters as the head of the gym. He is always thinking and acting the way he should be as a world champion. This is true not only in practice, but also in every single move he makes after he leaves the ring. In this match, I think I saw his determination as a world champion to face the WBC champion.

Taniguchi also jumped into the ring to take care of the fallen Kyoguchi. After bowing to all four sides of the ring, Kyoguchi walked down the ramp and Taniguchi walked with him as he moved to the waiting room.

The audience gave him warm words of thanks, well done, I was very impressed, and “Good luck again! What warm words and applause were sent from the audience. Kyoguchi’s fighting spirit must have moved the audience.

When Kyoguchi arrived at the dressing room, he thanked those around him and said, “I’m sorry I couldn’t win, even though they supported me a lot.

He said, “‘No, you didn’t. I’d rather say thank you to you. Thank you for your hard work. I said back, ‘Let’s take it easy,’ but I was still touched. I really felt happy to be able to box with him. Kyoguchi gives me a good smack on the butt, and I have a lot of examples to follow, and it’s an element that helps me push myself.”

A few minutes later, the facilitator came to me and asked, “Kyoguchi, would you like to go to the press conference? Kyoguchi immediately responded. Kyoguchi immediately responded and proceeded to the press room. As soon as he appeared in front of the reporters, he repeated the words, “Thank you very much.

Kyoguchi attended the press conference after the match, despite his injured body.

Taniguchi, who was staring directly behind him as Kyoguchi politely responded to reporters’ questions despite his frustration, was moved.

I was proud of him as a friend. It was Teraji who won, but it was a match that showed Kyoguchi’s character. We are classmates, but he was really good-looking. He said, “I am not a dexterous person, but I have worked harder than others, and I have come this far with my ‘work until I can do it’ style. I wanted to prove to the children that if you work hard, you will get results. I have worked hard to become a player who gives courage to others. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me.

I think a world champion is a person who respects those around him and is able to set an example for his juniors. I learned that from him. I don’t think I really feel that I have lost yet. I think I will gradually feel it from now on.

Since Kyoguchi became world champion at the age of 23, won two weight classes, and defended his title overseas, I think it is not a bad idea for him to stop and slow down. I am sure he must have had many conflicts, and he must have had a lot of things to carry on his shoulders. He must have had a lot of conflicts, and he must have carried a lot on his shoulders. I’m sure I’ll get a convincing win with good content.

In the November 26, 1979 issue of Sports Illustrated, the most authoritative sports magazine in the United States, OJ Simpson said, “Fame is like a vapor. Popularity is but an illusion. Money vanishes like a feather. Only one thing is certain. It is the human form of the athlete.

I am reminded of these words from time to time while covering sports. Hiroto Kyoguchi lost the match, but he certainly showed what a human being he is.

  • Interview and text by Soichi Hayashi

    Nonfiction writer

  • Photo Hiroaki Yamaguchi

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