The lower classes have been consistently changing over the last few years with fighters moving up through the weights and youngster breaking on to the scene at a speedy rate. It seems like the next of those could be Watanabe promoted 23 year old Hiroto Kyoguchi (5-0, 5) who looks like a monster breaking through the ranks at the moment.
Kyoguchi first made a mark for himself in the amateur ranks, where he ran up an impressive 52-14 (8) record and claimed various notable honours including being the captain of a university boxing team and claiming a national amateur title in 2014.
He turned his attention to the professional ranks in 2016, following in the footsteps of older brother Ryuto Kyoguchi, and decided to sign with the Tokyo based Watanabe Gym, rather than stay in Osaka like his brother had. When he turned professional he did so along with two other fighters, along with Masataka Taniguchi and Motoki Osanai, who also had their pro-test bouts on the same day with all 3 earning B licenses from the off.
With his B license earned and with Watanabe’s backing Kyoguchi debuted in April and made light work of Narathip Sungsut, stopping the Thai visitor in 2 rounds at the EDION Arena Osaka ona card headlined by a Japanese title fight. Less than a month later Kyoguchi was back in the ring and on the road as he travelled to Thailand and, along with Taniguchi and the under-rated Takuya Watanabe, and picked up a win over Thai local Taweechai Yuyuet.
Kyoguchi had his first serious test in his third professional bout, when he took on Kenichi Miyazaki from the Ohashi stable. On paper the 10-2-1 (3) Miyazaki posed an interesting assignment for the then 2-0 (2) Kyoguchi but in the end Kyoguchi scarcely broke a sweat as he broke down Miyzaki in 3 rounds, showcasing power, speed, movement, skills and some wonderful flowing combinations. The bout, which was supposed to be a test for the youngster, turned into an exhibition until a body shot crumpled Miyazaki and forced a stoppage.
In November 2016 Kyoguchi made his Tokyo debut, fighting at the Korakuen Hall, and took on Filipino Michael Camelion. Camelion had never been stopped in 12 bouts and looked like the type of fighter to take Kyoguchi rounds, instead however he lasted just 33 seconds as Kyoguchi despatched him with a left uppercutt.
Kyoguchi fought for a 6th time in the space of 9 months when he returned to the ring on December 31st as part of the stacked Watanabe card from the Ota City Gymnasium. Once again he impressed, blasting through Filipino southpaw Junuel Lacar in 3 rounds.
Currently ranked by both the OPBF and the JBC Kyoguchi is expected to get a title fight later this year. Both the OPBF and JBC titles are there to be won, with Tatsuya Fukuhara set to vacate the national title and Tatsuya Yamanaka being a very beatable OPBF champion, and if he can claim one of those titles before summer there is a real chance he could end 2017 fighting for a world title, and becoming one of the new faces of the Watanabe gym.
For those who haven’t yet seen Kyoguchi his fights are worth hunting down, and many are currently online with Boxingraise.com having featured a number of his bouts, including his last 3. He is quickly becoming one of my favourite prospects with such a fun and aggressive style that’s going to make him a must watch fighter when he mixes it at a higher level.
Scott Graveson covers the Asian Boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info