Kenshiro Teraji Turns On the Power To Overwhelm Hiroto Kyoguchi
At the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, you had a junior flyweight unification contest occur as WBA ‘super’ champ Hiroto Kyoguchi (16-1, 11 KOs) fought countryman and WBC champ Kenshiro Teraji (20-1, 12 KOs). This highly anticipated unification had been expected for over a year!
Kyoguchi is a two-division champ and came in full of confidence. In his previous outing, the 28-year-old went into hostile territory in Guadalajara, Mexico, and defeated Mexican and then WBA regular champ Esteban Bermudez by an eight-round stoppage in June 2022. It was one of the best performances of his career.
He now returned home to face a Teraji who was looking to establish himself as the man in the division. A two-time WBC champion at 108, Teraji is as talented as anyone in the division. However, the 30-year-old was bumped off his perch when he lost the title by a surprising eleventh-round stoppage to Masamichi Yabuki in September 2021. Hellbent on vengeance, Teraji regained the WBC crown with a third-round KO of Yabuki in their rematch in March 2022.
Kyoguchi – Teraji was a highly anticipated contest. It pitted what most pundits feel are the two top fighters at light flyweight!
GOOD WORK BY BOTH MEN
After a feel-out opening round, the two warriors went to work starting in round two. Teraji cranked out the left jab to set up combinations to the head of Kyoguchi. For his part, the WBA champ stayed patient. Whenever Teraji would let go with shots, Kyoguchi did a good job of getting underneath, then landing with uppercuts and hooks. Through four rounds, the action was sharp and crisp.
TURNING UP THE HEAT
Early in the fifth, a straight right hand from Teraji put Kyoguchi on the seat of his pants. The WBC champ went for the finish. With forty-five seconds to go in the round, Kyoguchi stormed back with power shots of his own. Teraji was in retreat by the end of the round.
After a slow round six, another Teraji right hand stunned Kyoguchi early in the seventh. At this point, the WBA champ looked weakened and had no answers for the Teraji assault. With thirty seconds to go in the round, another hellish right hand badly wobbled Kyoguchi, who fell back to the ropes. Clearly hurt, the referee made the wise decision to step in and stop the fight.
Faced with the biggest fight of his career and up against the best opponent of his career, Teraji shined! After the fight, he expressed a great interest in a unification bout with WBO champion Jonathan Gonzalez, who defended his title for a second time on the under-card, in 2023.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.