RIZIN and Bellator bantamweight champion, Kyoji Horiguchi, has been forced to withdraw from the RIZIN 20 event on New Years Eve. Horiguchi was to defend his title against Kai Asakura before pulling out dude to injury.
Kyoji Horiguchi has pulled out due to an ACL tear and torn meniscus in his right knee. He will reportedly be sidelined for ten months.
Asakura defeated Horiguchi at RIZIN 18 in August but did not take the belt. He was set to take on the task of prying Kyoji Horiguchi’s belt from him in New Year’s Eve. Horiguchi has requested permission from RIZIN to relinquish his belt due to the long layoff.
“Injuries happen and this is what we have to deal with on a regular basis. 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,” said Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Kyoji Horiguchi Releases Statement
Kyoji Horiguchi released a statement regarding his injury as well.
“I am terribly sorry. I have inured 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 highschool 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 abnormities 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.”
RIZIN will announce what their plans are for Kai Asakura and the bantamweight belt at a later date.