Hiroto Kyoguchi continues to plead his case as the best junior flyweight on the planet.
The unbeaten two-division and reigning 108-pound titlist remained perfect as a pro after outpointing countryman Tetsuya Hisada over 12 highly entertaining rounds Tuesday evening at EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.
Scores were 115-112, 116-111 and 117-110 in favor or Kyoguchi, who floored Hisada in round nine to en route to the second defense of his current title reign.
The action was fierce throughout their contest, with the final scores—while accurate—also not fully indicative of the competitive nature of the bout. Kyoguchi stormed out to an early lead, providing considerable separation between in a dominant round six where Hisada took a hellacious beating but somehow remained upright and still willing to trade.
It was a lesson that Kyoguchi would endure one round later, taking a flush shot on the chin but equally showing his mettle.
Whatever hope there was for the local challenger—who'd won 13 straight heading into the night—pulling off the upset forever dissolved in round nine, when Kyoguchi finally broke the dam. A right uppercut landed flush on the chin of Hisada, who was left defenseless at center ring yet still on his feet. An overhand right by the defending titlist took care of that problem, sending Hisada sprawling to the canvas.
That he made it to his feet wasn't as surprising as the fact that Hisada made the defending titlsit work every second of the remainder of the bout to retain his title and unbeaten mark. A two-way shootout broke out in round 10, one that will warrant Round of the Year consideration come award season.
Neither boxer gave an inch in the championship rounds, providing a fitting close to an instant classic. It wasn't enough for Hisada to bring the title at home. A 13-fight win streak dating back to May 2015 comes to a close as the Osaka native falls to 34-10-2 (20KOs).
Kyoguchi—who was born in Osaka but now lives and trains in Tokyo—improves to 14-0 (8KOs). The former strawweight titlist registered the second defense of the 108-bout strap he acquired in a 10th round knockout of Hekkie Budler last New Year's Eve. The 25-year old has fought on the holiday in each of his three previous years in the pro ranks, with talks of his landing on such a card to close out his 2019 campaign.
The bout aired live on MBS TV in Japan, accompanied by a livestream on the company's YouTube channel.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox