Try explaining to Esteban Bermudez that belts don’t matter.
The recently crowned secondary WBA junior flyweight titlist has a golden opportunity to upgrade his title reign. The WBA ordered a title consolidation clash between Mexico’s Bermudez and Japan’s Hiroto Kyoguchi, the current WBA “Super” junior flyweight champion who is now on the hook to honor an overdue mandatory title defense obligation. BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the bout was officially ordered on Thursday, with the two sides given until July 11 to reach a deal before being subject to a purse bid hearing.
“Kyoguchi’s mandatory defense was due on September 30, 2020,” Carlos Chavez, chairman of the WBA Championship Committee noted to promoters Eddie Hearn (Kyoguchi) and Greg Cohen (Bermudez) in an official letter, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Kyoguchi was allowed by the Championship Committee to make a voluntary defense on March 13, 2011 against Axel Aragon Vega.
“Pursuant to WBA rule C.13 – Bout Limitations – the champion may not fight a boxer who is not the official challenger within sixty (60) days of the expiration of the mandatory defense period.”
Bermudez (14-3-2, 10KOs) hit the jackpot following his latest win, a 6th round knockout of comebacking and previously unbeaten Carlos Canizales on May 28 in Mexico City. The feat serves as a leading contender for Upset of the Year, along with Bermudez landing the WBA “World” junior flyweight title. Canizales had not fought in more than two years but was a heavy favorite to defend his title in his comeback bout and proceed with a showdown of his own versus Kyoguchi later this year.
Those plans came to a crashing halt upon the conclusion of their Estrella TV-aired title fight. Canizales struggled to adapt to the aggressive Bermudez, who hit paydirt in round six after twice flooring the unbeaten Venezuelan en route to the knockout win.
While the argument will remain firm that there are too many belts in the sport, this situation works in favor of Bermudez who once again gets to pursue a career-best opportunity.
Tokyo’s Kyoguchi (15-0, 10KOs) was expecting to pursue bigger game for his next fight, given his recent career moves. The two-division and long-reigning junior flyweight titlist recently inked a pact with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA and Eddy Reynoso’s No Boxing No Life management company earlier this year.
It came complete with making his stateside debut, a 5th round stoppage of Mexico’s Aragon this past March at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The bout marked the third successful defense of the WBA “Super” 108-pound title Kyoguchi lifted off of Hekkie Budler in December 2018.
Hopes of next entering a title unification bout for his next ring appearance will be placed on hold as he tends to current business at hand.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the WBA will call for a purse bid hearing. Kyoguchi will receive the favorable end of a 65/35 purse split should it reach that point. Either side can call for a purse bid hearing at any point during the negotiation period if it is believed that such talks are unproductive and not in the best interest of their respective fighter.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox