Jr. flyweight has been a quiet gem for a few years with some talented titlists, good fights, and a few surprising upsets.
It hasn’t been what it could be.
The talent pool has been there for the sort of action that broke out about a dozen years ago when fighters like Ivan Calderon, Hugo Cazares, and Giovanni Segura made some classic encounters. It could be there again if the unification fever hitting the sport permeates to 108 lbs.
Both fighters in action Friday (DAZN, 8 PM EST) could play a part and should when they face each other. Esteban Bermudez is coming off a big upset win over Carlos Canizales while Ring Magazine and WBA titlist Hiroto Kyoguchi has been largely untested since a title win over Hekkie Budler.
Could that change here?
Let’s get into it.
Stats and Stakes
Title: Ring Magazine/WBA Light Flyweight (2018-Present, 3 Defenses)
Previous Titles: IBF Strawweight (2017-18, 2 Defenses)
Weight: 107 ¾ lbs.
Hails from: Tokyo, Japan
Record: 15-0, 10 KO
Press Rankings: #1 (ESPN), #2 (TBRB)
Record in Major Title Fights: 7-0, 3 KO
Last Five Opponents: 109-15-5 (.864)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Jose Argumedo UD12; Carlos Buitrago TKO8; Hekkie Budler TKO10; Tetsuya Hisada UD12
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: None
Titles/Previous Titles: None*
Weight: 107 ¾ lbs.
Hails from: Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico
Record: 14-3-2, 10 KO
Press Rankings: #7 (Ring), #8 (TBRB)
Record in Major Title Fights: 1st Title Fight (1-0, 1 KO in WBA sub-title fights)
Last Five Opponents: 73-57-10 (.557)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Carlos Canizales TKO6
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Oswaldo Novoa KO4
*Holds WBA sub-title at 108 lbs.
The Pick: If the names were a little more prominent, Bermudez upsetting Canizales last year may have stood out as a stronger candidate for Upset of the Year. It was a stunning result in the lower weight classes and some of the reasons Bermudez won could be trouble for Kyoguchi. Bermudez is tall and long for the weight class, able to squeeze down to a weight that doesn’t look likely for his frame. Bermudez has a stoppage loss in the first round but took some big shots from Canizales so has some durability as well.
What Bermudez doesn’t have is a lot of speed. Kyoguchi is comfortable in the trenches but he’s not stationary and his defense is typically tight upstairs. Using his feet and firing in combination, Kyoguchi should be landing more and more efficiently within a couple rounds on Friday. The skill gap, and the athletic gap, is too wide for another big Bermudez upset. The pick is Kyoguchi.
Rold Picks 2022: 27-6
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org