Hiroto Kyoguchi continued the stellar start to his career on Sunday, surviving a war against Jose Argumedo to win his first world title just over one year after turning professional.
The 23-year-old Kyoguchi became a champion in a Japanese record of 1 year and 3 months, while improving his unbeaten streak to eight with six knockouts. Argumedo fell to just his fourth loss in 25 bouts, but both will be proud of their effort in a wild encounter.
“The fastest to the title and what not, that doesn’t mean much to me,” said Kyoguchi, the new IBF minimumweight champion. “I’m just thrilled to be a champion. I’ll keep working to become even stronger. I’m not close to being satisfied.”
The pace was frenetic from the start, with the evenly matched fighters slinging wildly in the early rounds.
By the third stanza, the fight had settled into a rhythm with the Japanese and Mexican measuring their flurries as fatigue set in.
The referee was heavily involved with the combatants clinching constantly as the fight devolved into a wrestling match, but it was not until the ninth that he had a decision to make.
Kyoguchi landed a huge left on his flailing opponent, sending him crashing down, but he survived the count and then barely reached his corner as the Japanese fighter pursued mercilessly over the ensuing 40 seconds.
To his credit, Argumedo gave as good as he got in the final three rounds, sending the fight to a decision.
Earlier in the evening at Ota Gymnasium, Ryoichi Taguchi defended his WBA light flyweight title for the sixth time, beating Colombian Robert Barrera by technical knockout in the ninth round.
With slight reach and height advantages, the 30-year-old Taguchi improved his record to 26 wins, 12 by knockout, two draws and two losses, while Barrera, six years his opponent’s junior, dropped to 18-2 for his career.
After a brisk start for both fighters, the contest was relatively even over the first three rounds, with the top-ranked challenger Barrera happy to counter from the ropes. The judges rewarded his tactics, splitting the first three rounds two-one in favor of the visitor.
The fourth was where the Japanese got on top, rocking his opponent late, with the bell coming at just the right time for the Colombian, who wobbled back to his stool.
By the seventh Barrera had run out of answers for the relentless barrage coming his way and two rounds later, the referee stepped in to stop the carnage.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.