Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Hiroto Kyoguchi is confident he can upset Jose Argumedo

Hiroto Kyoguchi (right) attacks the body of Jonathan Refugio en route to a 12-round decision in April 2017 in Tokyo. Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Hiroto Kyoguchi will make a bold attempt to unseat IBF strawweight titleholder Jose Argumedo at the Ota-City General Auditorium in Tokyo on Sunday.

The 23-year-old prospect claimed the OPBF strap earlier this year allowing him the opportunity to face the vastly more experienced Mexican.

THE RING’s No. 8-rated 105 pounder is supremely confident of victory over Argumedo (20-3-1, 12 knockouts), who is the magazine’s No. 4-ranked strawweight, and he is not shy about explaining what he perceives to be the strengths and weaknesses of the defending beltholder.

“I should absolutely win the fight to change my life,” Kyoguchi told through translator Tomoyuki Kataoka. “I think (Argumedo) has strong mind as a fighter. He has powerful punches and good stamina. However, I think his weakness is to be hit by body blows.”

Argumedo has been a champion since December 2015, longer than Kyoguchi (7-0, 6 KOs) has been a pro.

The Tepic, Mexico native won the title from Kyoguchi’s veteran countryman, Katsunari Takayama, in Japan and defended the IBF belt three times. It’s a fight the Tokyo resident has long yearned for.

Photo / Naoki Fukuda

“I watched the TV program of the fight when he won the title,” he said. “I remember that I felt that I would face him in the future if I turned pro. When I watched the program, of course, I formed an impression of my winning against him.”

Kyoguchi’s quick progress since debuting just 15 months ago has shocked even himself.

“I am also surprised to have progressed so quickly,” he admitted. “I think that my dream has matched the policy of my gym, the Watanabe Boxing Gym. I have trained very well in the good environment of the gym.”

The President of Watanabe Promotions, Hitoshi Watanabe, was keen to help his fighter procure this adventurous move, noting that he’s been looking for his next champion and believes that it might just be Kyoguchi.

“I think that only 15 months from turning pro to challenging a world title will be perhaps the shortest (time) in Japanese boxing (history),” Watanabe stated. “However, Kyoguchi was a good amateur boxer and one of the top-ranked boxers in Japan in those days.

“His current trainer, Mr. Takashi Inoue (no relation of Naoya Inoue) of Watanabe Gym, introduced Kyoguchi to my gym, and because of Kyoguchi’s hard training after turning pro, he was able to blossom into a wonderful boxer.”

It marks the latest in a recent trend of boxers moving quickly towards a world title fight. In Japan, this is particularly prevalent. Inoue won a world title in his sixth bout, Kazuto Ioka did so in his seventh fight, while Kosei Tanaka in just his fifth bout. Earlier this year, both Daigo Higa and Ken Shiro achieved the same goal in their 13th and 10th pro outings respectively.

Watanabe explained why young, seemingly inexperienced, boxers go for world titles so early in their pro careers in Japan.

“Professional boxing is, as you know, relatively big business in accordance with broadcasting fees from TV stations, ticket income, etc. Like all the fighters you mentioned (Inoue, Ioka, Tanaka, Higa and Shiro), Kyoguchi fits the needs of the Japanese audience and TV stations. This is the first reason, the business side.

“The second reason is just timing. It is not so easy to set up the timing to make a world champion. My duty as a gym owner is to make a chance for a strong boxer to become a world champion. I am convinced that all I did was to perform my duty for Kyoguchi.”

Last year Watanabe’s star performer, Takashi Uchiyama, lost his WBA junior lightweight belt to Jezreel Corrales. It left a void in their stable.

Watanabe is confident that this heavy-handed youngster can become his latest champion and the next star of stable, which also includes WBA junior flyweight titlist Ryoichi Taguchi (who defends his belt on the same card against Robert Barrera).

“If you watch any video of his bouts, you will easily find out that Kyoguchi is wonderfully powerful,” said the promoter. “He can become a star in the lighter weight divisions because of his hard punches and will take over Uchiyama.”

His pupil is adamant that the first step in doing so will come against Argumedo.

“I will, by any means, win the fight,” Kyoguchi said. “My perfect way to win will be provided by KO through landing body blows.”



Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright