Kyoji Horiguchi plans to avenge his loss against Kai Asakura will have to be put on hold.
The Rizin and Bellator champion Horiguchi (28-3) has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming Rizin 20 bout against Asakura (14-1) due to a damaged meniscus and torn ACL.
The promotion organization announced the news on Wednesday evening.
The American Top Team fighter is expected to be out of action for 10 months. According to Rizin, Horiguchi “has asked to revoke his status as Rizin champion”. Subsequently, his bantamweight title has been vacated. His opponent, Asakura is expected to remain on the fight card and face a new opponent for the December 31st event at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Horiguchi apologized to fans and the MMA community for his disappointing withdrawal.
“I am terribly sorry. I have injured myself and have just had surgery, and I am forced to withdraw from the Rizin 20 event,” he said.
The bantamweight fighter also apologized to his opponent for the fight let down:
“When I think about everybody who was looking forward to my fight on New Year’s Eve, 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.”
The Rizin CEO, Nobuyuki Sakakibara had a more neutral stance on the situation. He also made a statement regarding the withdrawal.
“Injuries happen, and this is what we have to deal with on a regular basis,” he said of Horiguchi. “We will work hard to take this situation and turn it into a positive. We believe that the fighters who look to stand up to these types of occasions will leave a special impression.”
Horiguchi’s last fight was against Asakura in the Rizin 18 main event in August, 2019. Asakura shocked fans by delivering an explosive KO and claiming victory in 68 seconds of the first round.
The team at BJPENN.com is wishing Kyoji Horiguchi a speedy recovery!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/14/2019.