On March 16, Hiroto Kyoguchi was handed The Ring junior flyweight title belt that he won by stopping the excellent Hekkie Budler last New Year’s Eve. The presentation took place in the ring prior to the Kosei Tanaka-Ryoichi Taguchi main event in Gifu City, Japan.
Kyoguchi, who also claimed Budler’s WBA 108-pound title, received a rapturous reception from fight fans and was initially surprised by the weight of his new prize.
Later that evening, Kyoguchi took time out to talk to The Ring.
The Ring: There’s only six Ring champions in 17 divisions. What does it mean to you to have be one of them, and was this ever a specific goal you had?
Kyoguchi: “I feel honored. (Winning) The Ring magazine title belt was one of my goals so now I’d like to keep defending it.”
The Ring: Now that you’re Ring champion, you’re officially recognized as the best boxer at junior flyweight. What does it mean to have that kind of target on your back, and what’s your next goal?
Kyoguchi: “I’m in a position to be chased so I’ll have to defeat anyone who comes my way. I’d like to keep in mind that I’m No.1 in the world at my weight class. My next goal is a title defense and unifications.”
The Ring: You won the Ring title on New Year’s Eve, maybe the most important night of boxing in Japan. Is it a priority to fight on New Year’s Ever again this year, and is it a goal to eventually headline that night?
Kyoguchi: “Only specifically chosen boxers can fight on New Year’s Eve. I’d like to be in the ring on that night again this year.”
The Ring: When are you planning to return to action and do you know the opponent?
Kyoguchi: “My next fight will be in June. My team will decide on the opponent soon.”
The Ring: Who is your favorite fighter to watch today, and which fighter did you idolize growing up?
Kyoguchi: “Naoya (Inoue’s) fight are exciting. My boxing idol was (two-time WBC bantamweight titleholder) Joichiro Tachuyoshi.”
The Ring: Do you have any pre or post-fight rituals that you partake in?
Kyoguchi: “My rules are to not have a routine because I want to be flexible.”
The Ring: Do you have any words of wisdom for the younger Japanese fighters who wish to rise to your level?
Kyoguchi: “I want them to go for their goals with their best effort. Don’t go with the mindset of saying, ‘I want to be a champion.’ Instead, start saying, ‘I’ll be a champion.’”
Contact Nick Skok on Twitter at @NoSparring
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