More Sports / Boxing

Unbeaten Hiroto Kyoguchi eyes second world title in New Year's Eve bout

Kyodo

Hiroto Kyoguchi, the WBA’s top-ranked contender, will fight super light flyweight champion Hekkie Budler of South Africa on New Year’s Eve in Macau, Kyoguchi’s Watanabe Boxing Gym announced Thursday.

The 25-year-old Kyoguchi, who formerly held the IBF’s minimumweight crown, is undefeated in 11 bouts with eight wins by knockout. Budler, 30, is 32-3 (10 KOs).

“To fight on New Year’s Eve and to have a world championship fight overseas is a double pleasure,” said Kyoguchi, who has fought 10 of his 11 bouts in Japan.

“I want to win my second title by knockout.”

Kyoguchi captured his first world championship in July 2017, when he won a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Jose Argumedo. He made two successful defenses before relinquishing the belt to move up a weight class.

Budler’s last fight was against Ryoichi Taguchi, who trains at the same gym as Kyoguchi. The South African won a unanimous decision in their May 20 light flyweight unification bout.

“There is some desire to get back at him. My motivation is high,” Kyoguchi said. “He moves well laterally, so it would be good to mix it up with him and land some body blows.”

The bout will take place on the same card as the WBO super flyweight title fight between Kazuto Ioka, the WBC’s silver super flyweight champ, and Donnie Nietes of the Philippines.