Osaka – WBA light flyweight super champion Hiroto Kyoguchi has contracted the novel coronavirus, the Japan Boxing Commission said Monday, and his world title bout on Tuesday has been canceled.
The 26-year-old was to make his third title defense against 10th-ranked challenger Thanongsak Simsri of Thailand, 20, in Osaka. Kyoguchi had been scheduled to make a title defense in May but that bout was canceled due to the pandemic.
The JBC said Kyoguchi’s cornerman, who is in his 50s, has also tested positive for the virus in a polymerase chain reaction test. Neither is showing any symptoms and both are in quarantine.
“The decision to cancel can’t be helped given what’s in the (JBC) guidelines,” said Tsuyoshi Yasukochi, JBC secretary general. “We’re sorry for the fans but ask them to forgive us for the sake of thorough infection prevention.”
“We cannot skip the test a day before a bout. It’s regrettable the (positive) result came out at this time.”
Thanongsak said he was “surprised and shocked” by how things unfolded but is “not giving up and will wait for his chance.”
The bout was set to be the first men’s world title fight held in Japan since the start of the pandemic, with a capped number of spectators allowed in at Intex Osaka.
“It’s extremely disappointing. We’re really sorry for the opposing boxer,” said Hitoshi Watanabe, the president of Kyoguchi’s gym.
“It’s been canceled this time but hopefully we can have the bout with the same card. If Kyoguchi can fully recover and fight within his (Thanongsak’s) visa term, then we’d like to hold the bout.”
Both Kyoguchi and his Thai counterpart had passed their weigh-ins on Monday morning. The undercards have also been canceled.
Kyoguchi’s gym source said the boxer had been practicing alone in a ventilated space and using disinfectant. The gym had readied a large number of test kits and been testing on daily basis, with both Kyoguchi and the cornerman testing negative a day earlier.
Thanongsak had quarantined for two weeks after arriving in Japan on Oct. 7 and all members of his team had tested negative in PCR tests on Friday.
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