New Faces: Hiroto Kyoguchi
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Weight class: Strawweight
Height: 5 feet 3 ½? inches (161 cm)
Amateur record: 52-14
Turned pro: 2016
Pro record: 6-0 (6 knockouts)
Trainer: Takashi Inoue
Manager: Hitoshi Watanabe
Promoter: Watanabe Promotions
Best night of pro career: Kyoguchi is most pleased with his most recent outing.
“The best one is the bout with Armando de la Cruz for OPBF strawweight title,” Kyoguchi told RingTV.com through interpreter Tomoyuki Kataoka. “This is because I won a title for the first time by knockout.”
Worst night of pro career: Although nobody has gone past the third round with Kyoguchi, he is least pleased with his fourth outing.
“The worst one is the bout with Michael Camelion,” he explained. “This is because I caught a cold and had a 39°C fever.”
Next fight: Just two months removed from his impressive title win, Kyoguchi returns to the world famous Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, to face Jonathan Refugio, in his first defense.
Refugio, 23, is more experienced sporting a 16-5-5 (4) record and is expected to take the Japanese prodigy rounds. The Filipino started his pro career in 2010, going unbeaten through his first 15 fights. Refugio has fought current WBC boss Wanheng Manayothin, who stopped him in nine rounds, and reigning WBA kingpin Knockout CP Freshmart, going the distance. He has won the WBC international title up at 108 pounds.
Why he’s a prospect: Kyoguchi had 66 amateur bouts, winning 52 of them. The highlight of his amateur career came when he won a championship at the National Sports Festival in 2014.
He only turned pro a year ago and has already won the OPBF belt. Admittedly, the 105-pound division isn’t as strong as other divisions but to win a significant title so quickly shows considerable promise for the future.
The 23-year-old boxer-puncher trains out of the same Watanabe gym as former long-reigning WBA 130-pound titlist Takashi Uchiyama. He has gained top-notch sparring with current WBA junior flyweight beltholder Ryoichi Taguchi.
Kyoguchi has won all six bouts so far inside three rounds, showing his impressive power. He feels this is his best attribute as a prize fighter.
He is already ranked by three of the four sanctioning bodies – WBC (No. 10), IBF (No. 10), WBO (No. 13) – as well as by THE RING (No. 10).
The President of Watanabe Promotions, Hitoshi Watanabe is keen to find his next champion and believes that might just be Kyoguchi.
“In accordance with his hard training with Mr. Inoue (no relation to Naoya and Takuma Inoue) of the Watanabe gym since turning professional he had extraordinary power in his punches,” Watanabe said.
Why he’s a suspect: After six bouts, lasting a total of just 13 rounds, Kyoguchi looks very impressive. However, he needs to continue to improve all aspects of his game, rounding out his boxing skills to move forwards as a fighter.
He clearly belongs at the level he’s currently and a few OPBF defenses against seasoned campaigners who can take him rounds would help him as he moves forwards.
Interestingly, the youngster feels he wants to continue to improve the very area he felt is his strongest suit.
“I should improve how to knockout an opponent faster and even more strongly.” he said.
Watanabe has a more general view.
“He should improve his power punching skills, making feints, be more economical and not waste punches and his boxing tactics.”
Storylines: He was born and grew up in Izumi, Osaka. He is the youngest of three children. When he was young he enjoyed Karate.
However, he became interested in boxing by watching the extremely popular 1990s bantamweight titlist Joichiro Tatsuyoshi on TV. He took up boxing at 12 years old.
His boxing hero is Roman Gonzalez and says his goal is to become a world champion.
Watanabe is confident that could be sooner rather than later.
“Within this year 2017,” his promoter said boldly. “I would like him to fight once or twice more defending the OPBF title to get a chance to challenge a world title.”
Kyoguchi’s hobby is shopping and he loves to eat Ramen. He graduated from the Osaka University of Commerce with a degree in Economics.
Feb. 28 – Armando de la Cruz – KO 3
Dec. 31 – Junuel Lacar – KO 3
Nov. 15 – Michael Camelion – KO 1
Aug. 7 – Kenichi Miyazaki – TKO 3
May 16 – Taweechai Yuyuet – TKO 1
Apr. 17 – Narathip Sungsut – KO 2
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright