Horiguchi injured out of Rizin 20, vacates BW title
Cross promotion Rizin/Bellator bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi has announced in a emotional video message that he has sustained a right ACL injury and has been forced to withdrawn from his upcoming title defense against surging star Kai Asakura. The bout originally scheduled for cross promotional New Years Eve show in Japan Rizin20/Bellator Japan hasbeen cancelled, but Asakura is reportedly seeking a replacement opponent, potentially for an interim bout.
Horiguchi will be out for atleast 10 months as he begins his recovery in Flordia, and will likely see him vacating his Bellator Bantamweight title as well. This will cause serious complications for the USA based promotion as Horiguchi was obligated to defend his Bellator title at least once. In a rematch of their first meeting at Rizin 14’s New Years Eve show, Horiguchi captured Bellator gold from Darrion Caldwell at Madison Square Garden in NYC for Bellator 222.
Horiguchi’s message as translated by Asianmma.com :
“I am terribly sorry. I have injured myself and have just had surgery. And I am forced to withdraw from the Rizin 20 event… When I think about everybody who was looking forward to my fight on NYE I am lost in words and have an indescribable feeling of guilt for everybody. I am sorry. I am sorry to Kai Asakura, I am sorry to all the fans. I cannot describe how I feel in words… I have been fighting as a professional for about 10 years since graduating high school and it’s not that I haven’t suffered any injuries but I was able to come all this way without any serious injuries. But I have felt some abnormalities in my body from last year but I didn’t take these signs too seriously. I started to train again in October but failed to realize how much wear and tear my body has obtained. And my ligament in my knee snapped. This was all because I took my body’s warnings lightly. I will be repeating myself to say I am terribly sorry about my injury and my withdraw from the fight. But I have decided to take this opportunity to heal my body and focus on recovering so I can start off with a fresh mind and body. I will need to overcome this obstacle to fulfill my goal to revive the Japanese fight scene. I believe that I need to use this opportunity to start over and rebuild towards that goal. I grew up watching Pride and that is why I became a fighter. I will not stop until the Japanese fight scene is back to where it used to be or even better. I am finally recovering from my surgery and just started rehabilitation on Monday in Florida. I have been down all this time but now my mind is set and I know what I need to do. However, I still cannot take a single step. I will work hard and focus on showing you the stronger and better version of Kyoji Horiguchi. And hopefully I can take part in reviving the Japanese fight scene. Oss.”