Hiroto Kyoguchi has waited so long for the chance to fight countryman Kenshiro Teraji that the novelty has almost worn off.


The pair of junior flyweight titlists collide in their highly anticipated WBC/WBA unification bout this Tuesday at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The pairing required Teraji (19-1, 11KO) to first regain the WBC title he lost in a stunning upset knockout loss to Masamichi Yabuki last September in his hometown of Kyoto, Japan.

Teraji avenged his lone career defeat, tearing through Yabuki inside of three rounds this past March also in Kyoto. The win, coupled with Kyoguchi further extending his reign with an eighth-round knockout of Esteban Bermudez on June 10 in Guadalajara, Mexico, produced the all-Japanese unification that both fighters have craved—though an opportunity that Kyoguchi felt once had higher stakes.

“I was glad because this is the fight the fans and boxing people were looking forward to,” Kyoguchi told BoxingScene.com. “I wanted to have the WBC belt too. But in terms of fighting Kenshiro, honestly, I don’t feel that special anymore, not like I felt before he lost.”  

It’s still on the short list of historic bouts to take place in Japan. Tuesday’s pairing marks just the second time ever that two Japanese fighters meet in a title unification bout. The lone other occasion came more than ten years ago, when then-unbeaten WBC strawweight titlist Kazuto Ioka barely outlasted Akira Yaegashi to defend his belt and win the WBA title in their terrific June 2012 meeting.

A Fight of the Year-level slugfest is expected on Tuesday, which also marks the first time Kyoguchi (16-0, 11KOs) fights on home soil.

A December 2019 win over countryman Tetsuya Hisada in Osaka was his last fight before the pandemic, resurfacing in North America after signing with Matchroom Boxing and Eddy Reynoso’s No Boxing, No Life management team. Wins in Dallas, Texas and Guadalajara have followed. Kyoguchi has made four successful defenses over the course of a title reign dating back to New Year’s Eve 2018, though fights at home for just the third time over that span.

“I’m just happy to be able to fight in Japan for the first time in almost three years,” noted Kyoguchi. “I like fighting in foreign countries a lot, but I also love to fight in front of my parents and friends.”

The show will air live on ESPN+ in the U.S. (4:30 a.m. ET), ESPN Knockout in Latin America, Amazon Prime Video in Japan (5:30 p.m. JST) and on DAZN throughout most of the rest of the world.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox