Kenshiro Teraji Dominates In 2022 and Emerges A Unified Champion
For the year 2022, 3kingsboxing.com recognizes Kenshiro Teraji (20-1, 12 KOs) as the Comeback Fighter of the Year. It takes a special kind of fighter to rise from the depths of agony and defeat only to bounce back better than ever. He went from suffering a shocking upset in 2021 to a dominant unified champion within 12 months.
Teraji was at the lowest point of his career at the end of 2021. In September of that year, he lost the WBC junior flyweight title by a shocking eleventh-round TKO to Masamichi Yabuki. Before that fight, Terjaji had aspirations of setting the Japanese record for world title defenses at junior flyweight. But suddenly, his world was turned upside-down.
SHOWING TRUE CHARACTER
Facing adversity for the first time in his career, the 31-year-old pride of Kyoto, Japan set a path to return to championship glory. First, he secured an immediate rematch against the man who beat him, Yabuki (14-4, 13 KOs), in March 2022. This time around, Teraji was a much different fighter with a different mindset. With fire in his eyes, Teraji took charge early and battered Yabuki en route to a third-round knockout to regain the WBC junior flyweight belt. It was sweet revenge, indeed.
Not satisfied and resting on his laurels, he sought more glory. In September 2022, Teraji agreed to a showdown against countryman and then-WBA champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (16-1, 11 KOs). Rivals going back to their amateur days, it was a highly-anticipated matchup in Japan for fans of the lower-weight divisions.
Fighting in November 2022, most pundits felt the contest would be an even matchup. Instead, Teraji turned it into a one-man show. He set the tone early and was in control throughout. Kyoguchi had no answers for Teraji’s length, boxing skills, and power. Teraji put Kyoguchi down in the fifth and battered him on the way to a dominating seventh-round stoppage to become the unified champion.
Most observers consider Teraji to be the man to beat at 108. Next up for the now-unified champ is another unification showdown with WBO champion Jonathan Gonzalez (27-3-1, 14 KOs) in April 2023.
In a moment where he had to look in the face of adversity, Kenshiro Teraji responded with his best year on record. Things can turn around quite quickly in a twelve-month span. The unified champion showed that more than anyone in 2022.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.