Hiroto Kyoguchi and Thankongsak Simsri both made weight for a junior flyweight showdown now officially on hold.
The first title fight to take place in Japan since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was abruptly postponed on Monday, along with the entire show stunning after all participants weighed in for Tuesday's event at Intex Osaka in Osaka, Japan. Kyoguchi and his head trainer both tested positive for COVID-19, prompting event handlers to shut down the entire event as a safety precaution.
"I'm very sorry," Kyoguchi tweeted to his followers on Monday, shortly after having weighed in at 107.8 pounds at Monday's weigh-in ceremony. Thailand's Simsri weighed 107.6 pounds for what was supposed to be his first attempt at a major title.
The event was to take place in front of a live audience, with upwards of 2,000 fans expected in attendance on Tuesday. Kyoguchi’s popular YouTube channel—which already boasts more than 122,000 subscribers—was set to stream the entire show.
Reports from Japan indicate that all parties initially tested negative, but that a PCR test conducted prior to the weigh-in showed that Kyoguchi and his trainer both produced positive results. Both claim to be asymptomatic, though complying with all COVID protocol as is their entire team.
A makeshift press conference held locally declared that plans remain in place for the title fight to eventually move forward, although it will have to come by year's end. Simsri (14-0, 12KOs) revealed at the press conference that he plans to stay in Japan until the fight is rescheduled, as his travel visa is valid through December 31.
"I was surprised and shocked when I first heard the news," stated Simsri. "But I will not give up on my dream of becoming a world champion. I will
"My visa is [valid through the end of] the year, so if we can [fight] in December, I will stay."
Kyoguchi (14-0, 9KO) will attempt the third defense of the 108-pound title he claimed in a 10th round stoppage of Johannesburg’s Hekkie Budler on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Macao, China. Tuesday's fight would have been his second straight in his birth town of Osaka. In his most recent start, Kyoguchi—who turns 27 later this month—outpointed countryman Tetsuya Hisada last October at EDION Arena in Osaka.
Pre-pandemic, Kyoguchi was due to face Australia’s Andika ‘Golden Boy’ Sabu in a voluntary defense this past May, with those plans obviously thwarted by the ongoing global health crisis.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox