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Kazuto Ioka Decisions Fukunaga in Tokyo on New Year's Eve; Ancajas Rumble Could Be Next for the Japanese Star


PhilBoxing.com




In an tough all-Japanese battle, 4-division world champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15 KO's) scored a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Ryoji Fukunaga (15-5, 14 KO's) to successfully retain for the 4th time his WBO Super Flyweight world title on New Year's Eve at the Ota-City General Gym in Tokyo, Japan.

The popular Ioka, 32, made good use of his superior boxing skills and slick moves to land his blows to the body and head of the complicated, hard-hitting southpaw challenger Fukunaga, who never stopped looking for a breakthrough in the war, which never came.

Nevertheless, the relentless Fukunaga had shining moments during the rumble, even clearly winning some rounds especially in the early and final stages of the combat; however the better boxer, Ioka, capitalized and dominated during the mid chapters in which his more elegant and orthodox boxing approach prevailed.

Still, the clash was intense and competitive enough for one of the judges to score it 115-113 in favor of Ioka. Another tally was the acceptable 116-112 for Ioka. However, the disproportional, rather exaggerated scoring of 118-110 seemed too far fetched, not in compliance with what indeed unfolded on top of the square ring in Tokyo.


Ioka catches Fukunaga with a right uppercut.

In summary, Fukunaga did far better that many fans thought he would, creating some problems for the master-class Kazuto Ioka, the only Japanese boxer in history to claim world titles in four different weight classes.

Fukunaga, 35, was a replacement for Ioka's original, more-stellar opponent, Filipino IBF Super Flyweight world champion Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KO's).

Unfortunately for fans and promoters, Jerwin Ancajas was unable to fly into Japan due to new travel restrictions put in place in the Land of the Rising Sun because of we know what.

Still, the exciting Kazuto Ioka vs Jerwin Ancajas IBF/WBO unification rumble could unfold "possible in May", according to Ancajas' coach/manager Joven Jimenez.

But for that dream match to proceed, the Davaeño "Pretty Boy" Ancajas needs to successfully defend his red 'n golden strap against unbeaten Argentinian challenger Fernando Daniel Martínez (13-0, 8 KO’s) on February 5 in the U.S.

Tonight’s winner, Kazuto Ioka, is, together with Ryota Murata and Naoya Inoue, the 3 golden boys of Japanese boxing, providing so much excitement to Japanese boxing-loving fans.

Ioka vs Fukunaga tonight in Tokyo was a promotion of Takuya Kiya's Shisei Promotions, televised live in Japan on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS).


The author Carlos Costa can be reached at carlos@philboxing.com


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.


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