Hiroto Kyoguchi successfully defended his WBA 108 lb title tonight in Guadalajara, Mexico, stopping Esteban Bermudez in the eighth round of an action-packed, rough, bloody main event.
Kyoguchi (16-0, 11 KO) was clearly the better all-around fighter, but the rugged Bermudez (14-4-2, 10 KO) refused to go quietly, fighting back after a very fast start from the Japanese star, and fighting through multiple cuts that saw him losing a fair amount of blood from early in the fight.
It was also a physical fight when the two got on the inside, which had to happen because Bermudez was not able to consistently find the range he wanted to use early, eating uppercut after uppercut from Kyoguchi. Once they were in close, their heads clashed a ton, and Kyoguchi was docked a point in round six for the head clashes, which was a questionable call from the referee, as both were contributing to the heads coming together.
Kyoguchi had another point taken in round seven for punches behind the head, which seemed questionable at live speed but much fairer upon replay. Whether it was the heat of the moment or not, he landed at least two clear rabbit punches on Bermudez, who would have been going down either way, it seemed. He’d taken a lot of punishment by that point.
With the two points docked and flirting with a potential disqualification on the road in Mexico, Kyoguchi opted to come right at Bermudez to start the eighth round, and hammered away until the referee stopped it just 24 seconds into the frame.
When the fight was over, Kyoguchi went to Bermudez’s corner and appeared to thank him for the bout, and there were more words and an embrace between the two Kyoguchi confirmed he had thanked Bermudez in his post-fight interview.
“I thanked him for a great fight. I’m very thankful for that fight, and I also apologized for (the rabbit punches),” Kyoguchi said through an interpreter. “I thought the deduction was a little strict, but it did do damage, and I was sorry about that.”
Asked why he chose to come to Mexico to defend his title, Kyoguchi said, “I wanted to fight here, there are a lot of boxing fans. I’ve had a great win and now I want to move to the next step.”
As for what the next step is, Kyoguchi said he would like to unify in the 108 lb division. He also added again that Bermudez is a “very, very tough fighter.”
To note, at the time of the stoppage, judges had Kyoguchi up 66-65 on two cards, and down 66-65 on the third card. Bad Left Hook had it 67-64 for Kyoguchi when the fight was stopped, giving Bermudez only the fourth round, which every judge did give him. one judge also gave Bermudez the fifth, another gave him the sixth, and one gave him the fourth through sixth rounds, which put him up on that card with the deductions.
Kyoguchi vs Bermudez highlights
Undercard highlights and results
- Eduardo Hernandez TKO-1 Jorge Castaneda: This was a demolition job, with Castaneda (15-2, 11 KO) having his magical little run of two straight upset wins over OK-ish prospects ended in dominant fashion, as “Rocky” Hernandez (32-1, 29 KO) just completely trucked him. Ran him over. Couldn’t miss with his left hook or much of anything else. Complete domination. Hernandez, who is still just 24, was a very hyped prospect just a few years ago, but he lost a KO-1 to Roger Gutierrez in 2019, and has sort of gone underground in three fights since, smaller bouts where he got himself back and ready. And this looked like a top prospect wanting to make a statement. I think he’s back in business at 130. Obviously there are big gaps between Castaneda and the top dogs, but Hernandez should be right back on your radar now.
- Mayerlin Rivas TKO-4 Karina Fernandez: A totally dominant performance for the 36-year-old Rivas (17-4-2, 11 KO), who successfully defends her WBA 122 lb title. Fernandez (17-7-1, 3 KO) came in on short notice and was very game, but her style of rushing in just got her taken apart, and she was dropped in the first round and clearly has a badly broken nose. The stoppage came at 0:01 of the fourth, so we really only had three rounds here; the referee sent Fernandez to the doctor for a check when the fourth round started, and the doctor rightly advised the stoppage. Fernandez’s style definitely made things worse for herself, but Rivas does have more power than most women’s boxers you see, and I’d be happy to see her again in hopefully something more evenly-matched.
- Diego Pacheco RTD-4 Raul Ortega: Give Ortega (10-3, 7 KO) some respect here, the guy came to fight as a clear B-side, “showcase” style opponent, landed some good shots, hurt Pacheco (15-0, 12 KO) in the second after being dropped in the first, and gave this every bit he had. But he was over-matched, and starting clearly in the back half of the third round, with Pacheco making less mistakes for Ortega to try to capitalize on and repeatedly hurting him, Ortega just had the spirit beaten out of him. He stayed on his stool after four, with the fight clearly only going one way by then. Pacheco did get a little over-eager in the second especially, but mostly fought very well here, using his natural size advantages the way he should, not mixing it up on the inside much at all.
- Jesus Martinez UD-4 Daniel Nunez Gomez: This was the pro debut for 17-year-old “Panterita” Martinez, a standout U.S. amateur who decided to go pro because he never much had any Olympic dreams, according to him. He just recently signed with Matchroom, and is managed by the company Darren Barker and Joe Calzaghe are with. Martinez got a first round knockdown, but the performance did sort of peak there, as Nunez Gomez (1-2, 0 KO) was tough if nothing else, and it was mainly “nothing else,” though you might have shaded the fourth for him. I didn’t, and more relevant, the judges didn’t, scoring this 40-35, 40-35, and 40-36 for Martinez. Pro debuts are never the best indicator of anyone’s ability (unless they’re really bad, I guess), and I’m sure we’ll see the kid back soon and frequently.