Announced by Keith Veltre of Roy Jones Jr. Promotions on Monday, World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 1 contender “Mighty” Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs) will face three-division world champion Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBO Junior Bantamweight World Championship on Wednesday, June 19 at the Osaka Orefectural Gym in Osaka, Japan. The fight is being aired on the streaming service UFC Fight Pass.
Paclicte earned this title shot from a title eliminator bout when he stopped Jose Martinez in two rounds back in January.
The WBO ordered negotiations to begin for a rematch between reigning WBO junior bantamweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Palicte, as he became the No. 1-ranked, mandatory challenger. Nietes instead, relinquished the title belt rather than accept a rematch against his fellow Filipino fighter in order to pursue other fight options.
Nietes and Palicte fought to a very controversial 12-round draw last September for the then vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title. Nietes went on to win the belt last December 31 in Macao, China, when he won a 12-round split decision against Ioka.
“I’d first like to thank my promoters (Keith Veltre & Roy Jones, Jr.) and manager (Jason Soong) for making this fight happen,” Palicte said in a press release. “I’m very excited for this second opportunity to fight for a world title. I and the whole team learned a lot from the last draw and made adjustments, which, I think, were very effective. Since a rematch with Nietes will probably never take place, going against Ioka, who lost to him via a split decision, is probably the closest thing to redeeming myself after that draw. We’ve already planned out our training camp, which includes altitude training in Baguio. More than anything, I’m very excited to get into the ring again to hopefully deliver to my RJJ Boxing family its first world title.”
Ioka, is currently ranked No. 2 by the WBO, is a former world champion in the World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight, WBA light flyweight, and the WBA/World Boxing Council (WBC) minimum weight. His only two losses as a professional have both been by 12-round split decisions. One was in a world title fights against Nietes and in 2014 against Amnat Ruenroeng for the International (IBF) flyweight title.
“I want to thank the WBO for working with us to make this fight happen,” Veltre said. “The WBO did everything possible to make this deal move forward. I want to thank Team Ioka for working with Roy Jones Jr Promotions, in addition to being professional and doing everything in their power to accommodate us. This is a great example of everyone giving in a little bit to make a great fight happen. Roy and I are extremely happy that we will be able to bring the first ever major World Title Fight to UFC Fight Pass and we are looking forward to seeing Aston Palicte becoming the World Champion.”
Not only as Keith mentioned in his quote that this is the first ever World Title fight on UFC Fight Pass, it would also be a chance to bring to Roy Jones Jr. Promotions their first ever World Champion.