Another delay has come in the proposed title consolidation clash between Hiroto Kyoguchi and Esteban Bermudez.
This one has not only pushed back the purse bid hearing but the fight itself.
A yet-to-heal injury endured by Japan’s Kyoguchi (15-0, 10KOs) has forced the reigning WBA “Super” junior flyweight titlist to bow out of his ordered fight with Mexico’s Bermudez (14-3-2, 10KOs), who holds the secondary WBA “World” junior flyweight titlist. The development has prompted the sanctioning body to call another title fight in the interim—a rematch between Bermudez and former title claimant Carlos Canizales.
“The World Boxing Association (WBA) approved the rematch between Mexican Light Flyweight world champion, Eduard Bermudez, and the number 8 in the ranking, former champion Carlos Canizalez [sic], due to an injury of the Super Champion of the category, Hiroto Kyoguchi,” Carlos Chavez, chairman of the WBA Championship Committee noted to all involved parties Thursday. “Although the purse bid for the fight between Kyoguchi and Bermudez was scheduled for January 28th, it was suspended because the Japanese boxer is in recovery process from an injury and will not be able to fulfill the commitment.
“For this reason, the Championships Committee of the pioneer organization allowed the voluntary defense of Bermudez against Canizales. The winner of the match must face Kyoguchi on his next fight and if the result is a draw, then Bermudez has the obligation to face the Japanese boxer.”
The development is the latest interruption in the months-long effort to proceed with Kyoguchi-Bermudez, a title consolidation fight even preceding the WBA’s current title reduction campaign.
The fight was first ordered on June 10, less than two weeks after Mexico’s Bermudez (14-3-2, 10KOs) dethroned previously unbeaten—though grossly inactive—Canizales via sixth round knockout in a stunning upset last May 29 in Mexico City. Talks never really got off the ground, with the fight going virtually ignored throughout the summer.
It was brought back to the surface when the WBA was forced to begin its title reduction campaign, which the sanctioning body has since honored at an aggressive pace.
The last order called for the fight to take place no later than one month from the time of the purse bid results, a ruling first handed down with the original January 7 purse bid date. Several postponements have since followed, with the fight backburnered altogether.
Bermudez has yet to defend his secondary title since the aforementioned win over Canizales. Efforts to match him with rising junior flyweight contender Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez last October were thwarted by the WBA, who refused to sanction the bout and instructed all parties involved—Matchroom Boxing for Kyoguchi and Greg Cohen Promotions for Bermudez—to revisit talks.
That conversation can wait as Bermudez and Canizales prepare to run it back.
Canizales (23-1-1, 17KOs) first claimed the secondary title in a narrow points win over then-unbeaten Reiya Konishi in March 2018 on the road in Japan. The entirety of Canizales’ title reign took place away from Venezuela, having outpointed Bin Lu in Malaysia (July 2018) and former WBO flyweight titlist Sho Kimura in May 2019 on neutral ground in Fuzhou, China. The bout was his last prior to the pandemic, waiting more than two years to return before suffering the stunning knockout loss to Bermudez last May.
The irony in Canizales spending his entire title reign on the road is that he only had one previous fight outside of Venezuela prior to his March 2018 title win. It is very likely that he will once again stamp his passport for a rematch with Bermudez.
The winner of Bermudez-Canizales II will be instructed to immediately enter talks to face Kyoguchi, per the WBA’s continued policy to consolidate as many titles as the boxing schedule will allow.
“The WBA is working on its title reduction plan and hopes that the 108-pound division can have a single champion in the shortest time possible,” notes Chavez.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox