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WBO Jr Bantamweight Champ Kazuto Ioka Defended Friday Night

WBO Jr Bantamweight Champ Kazuto Ioka Defended Friday Night

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WBO Jr Bantamweight Champ Kazuto Ioka Defended Friday Night

Mark Robinson- Matchroom Boxing UK

WBO Jr Bantamweight Champ Kazuto Ioka Defended Friday Night

One of the premier fighters in Japan over the last decade defended his 115 lb. world title Friday night in the final world title fight of 2021 and Kazuto Ioka looked his usual impressive self in a unanimous decision win over countryman Ryoji Fukunaga,

The scores at the Ota City Gymnasium in Tokyo were 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 in favor of Ioka, who has previously held world titles in three other weight classes.

Ioka, 28-2, 15 KOs, was in complete control of this one, scoring throughout the fight to the body and with left hooks to the head. His best round was the seventh, when he buckled Fukunanga twice, including with a big left hook along the ropes.

Ioka, who was making his fourth defense of his WBO 115 lb. title that he won in 2019, could not finish his late replacement opponent. However, the outcome was really never in doubt, as Ioka continued to land the harder punches with more frequency in the late rounds. There were no knockdowns in the fight.

Fukunaga took the bout on a month’s notice, when the Japanese government and health officials decided to seal the country’s borders to foreigners starting December 1st due to the rise on Covid 19 positive cases there, again.

That meant that despite having trained for over month for Ioka, IBF champ Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines could not travel to Japan for the proposed unification bout with Ioka. It is believed that the two of them will attempt to fight in the Summer of 2022.

Back to Ioka, the 32 year old has now won five title fights in a row since dropping a split decision loss to Filipino Donnie Nietes in Macau his first bid for the WBO Jr Bantamweight title on this same day, 12/31 of 2018. Undaunted, Ioka challenged for the same belt again after Nietes vacated it, and he stopped Aston Palicte in Chiba City, Japan to become champ in June 2019.

Ioka’s first title win came as a “Minimum weight” fighter wining the WBC 108 lb. championship by beating
Kittipong Jaigrajang by TKO in February of 2011.

He has also held world titles at 112 and 115 lb., as well.

A veteran broadcaster of over 25 years, T.J. has been a fight fan longer than that! He’s the host of the “Big Fight Weekend” podcast and will go “toe to toe” with anyone who thinks that Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard or that Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Deontay Wilder could have beaten Ali!

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