Monday, March 27, 2023  |


Yu Kimura: ‘I am not letting go of the WBC junior flyweight belt!’

Yu Kimura at Lopez weighin fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Yu Kimura looks to make the first defense of his WBC junior flyweight title when he faces grizzled Mexican veteran Ganigan Lopez on Friday (Thursday in the United States) at the Shimazu Arena, Kyoto, Japan.
Kimura (18-2-1, 3 knockouts) won the belt last November, five days after his 32nd birthday when, as a rank outsider – 6-1 (+600) – he unseated Pedro Guevara by split decision.
The Tokyo speedster was able to come into his own in the second half of the bout to snatch the title. According to Guevara’s promoter, a rematch will take place next if Kimura is victorious.
The light-punching Kimura is a veteran of nearly nine-and-a-half years, who won the Japanese national title in early 2014 and defended it three times.
Kimura-Lopez is the co-feature to WBC bantamweight kingpin Shinsuke Yamanaka’s 10th title defense when he meets Liborio Solis.

Here’s what Kimura had to say when spoke with him through translator Nobu Ikushima. – What are Ganigan Lopez’s strengths and weaknesses as a fighter?

Yu Kimura – Viewing Lopez’s videos, I think he is a high-level technical fighter. One of his weapons in the ring is his ability to fight (as a) southpaw. I will study his weakness and come up with a strategy for the fight.

RTV – You won the WBC junior flyweight title against Pedro Guevara. Tell us about that fight.

YK – After I got hit and shaken with a good shot in the fifth round, I decided to change my strategy to stepping in and punching. I think this allowed me to win the fight.

RTV – What did it mean to you to win this title?

YK – I am very happy to become a world champion, since this was my childhood dream.
I believe being at Teiken Boxing Gym, with its great training environment, is what allowed me to become a world champion.

RTV – How did your life change after winning the WBC title?

YK – More people stop me in the streets to say hello.

RTV – Is it correct that, if you beat Lopez, you have to face Guevara in a rematch?

YK – I leave all the matchmaking with (Teiken Promotions President) Mr. (Akihiko) Honda. I will fight with any opponent that he decides to make the fight with.

RTV – The junior flyweight division seems full of talent. What are your thoughts on the division?

YK – I have been fighting at this division since the amateurs and through my pro career. To me, this is a very special weight class.

RTV – There are several top-class Japanese fighters at 108-pounds, like WBA titlist Ryoichi Taguchi and IBF beltholder Akira Yaegashi and WBO strawweight titleholder Kosei Tanaka has said he’s moving up. What are your thoughts on your countrymen?

YK – Having many Japanese champions brings up interest in Japan and I think it is great.

RTV – What is your life like away from boxing?

YK – I often go to the Japanese Public bathhouses (Editors Note: They are called Sento, a tradition in Japan). It is healthy and refreshing.

RTV – Lastly, do you have a message for Lopez?

YK – I am not letting go of the belt!

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