Hiroto Kyoguchi scored an eight-round stoppage win to cement his place as one of the top 108-pound fighters on the planet.
In the process, Kyoguchi retained his WBA light-flyweight title by stoppage over Esteban Bermudez in a bloody battle at the Domo Alcade in Guadalajara, Mexico, live on DAZN.
Kyoguchi (16-0 11 KOs) was putting his belts on the line for the fourth time against the WBA regular champion Bermudez (14-4-2 10 KOs), and the pair put on an all-action blood and guts battle that would have been found space in a phone box.
The Japanese set a ferocious pace, constantly finding a home for his uppercut, and a cut to the forehead from a head clash only made a tough opening all the harder for the Mexican.
Kyoguchi had a point deducted in the sixth for using the head and in the seventh for hitting behind the head as Bermudez was heading to the canvas from a barrage of punches.
The end was around the corner for the homeland favorite. Despite the roars from his fellow countryman, Kyoguchi unloaded one more barrage of punches that Bermudez could not withstand.
The traveling champion landed the 11th KO win of his career in the eighth round and now wants unification showdowns.
“I have always wanted to fight in Mexico with the great fans here, and I am so glad I did,” said Kyoguchi. “It’s a great win, and I am ready for the next step. There are many other champions in the division, and I want to fight them.
“The Mexican fans love boxing – it was a tough atmosphere, but I loved it, and I want to thank them for coming tonight and for their support, and for the fans in Japan too.
“I thanked him for the great fight that we put on and was sorry for the points deductions. I thought that they were a bit strict, but they gave him damage, so I was sorry for that.”