Kazuto Ioka’s location in Japan’s prosperous boxing heritage is secured, no matter what takes region this New year’s Eve.
Of route, that gained’t avoid him from including to a profession on the verge of hall of reputation consideration.
The only male boxer from Japan to trap titles in four weight divisions, Ioka appears to stay away from unbeaten countryman Kosei Tanaka from joining him on that record. the two collide this Thursday, live on TBS-Japan (and on ESPN platforms in Latin the us markets) from Ota-city well-known Gymnasium in Tokyo.
“He’s a younger, energetic and hungry fighter seeking to take my crown,” Ioka told BoxingScene.com of the upcoming clash, which consists of two-means importance. “So, I really don’t have a whole lot feeling about him.”
At stake is Ioka’s junior bantamweight belt which he claimed in a tenth round knockout of Philippines’ Aston Palicte last June in Chiba, Japan. The 2nd-era boxer—whose father Hiroki became a two-division titlist in the late Nineteen Eighties and early 1990s—etched his identify in the list books with the win, adding to his résumé following a 12-circular win over unbeaten Jeyvier Cintron final New 12 months’s Eve in the very identical venue he will headline exactly 12 months later.
Tanaka (15-0, 9KOs) is a healthy betting favourite, with the chances expanding as the combat attracts nearer. The 25-year old from Nagoya shares a chunk of boxing historical past of his personal. A 12-round win over countryman Sho Kimura in September 2018 netted a flyweight title for Tanaka to develop into a three-division titlist by means of his 12th pro battle, matching the male listing based by means of Vasiliy Lomachenko simply 4 months prior.
A win by way of Tanaka on Thursday will make him a 4-division titlist in precisely his sixteenth seasoned combat, destroying the 23-yr historical checklist held with the aid of Oscar de la Hoya in his twenty fourth professional combat.
Such historical past should be denied—or as a minimum stalled—should still Ioka prevail. The feat will now not simplest be regarded as an upset however forever leaving him among the most fulfilling boxers to ever come out of Japan.
“I’m now not quite certain i might be left because the premiere [from Japan], however because the nation’s best [male] 4-division champ I consider I belong in that company,” notes Ioka. “I do consider I’ve earned elite reputation within the boxing world.”
Jake Donovan is a senior creator for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox