Masayuki Ito really doesn’t speak English, but his personality radiated during the fight week and on Saturday, after he beat Christopher Diaz in Florida on ESPN+, we saw the charisma.
He spoke to the announce crew after snagging the WBO 130 belt, and you had to feel a pang of emotion when you saw his wife, clutching their infant offspring, walk over and hug him, while crying tears of joy and relief.
So, the question begs: when do we see this Ito (age 27, 24-1-1 with 12 KOs) again?
Top Rank boss Bob Arum was wickedly impressed with Ito, and spoke to BLH about next for Ito.
“This kid who has some English, has a personality that lights up a room,” Arum told me. “(Promoter) Honda was telling me the kid could really fight, and he doesn’t exaggerate, and that was a helluva performance against a very, very good fighter. About 75 people flew in to support him, the kid Mark Kriegel said he brought over his wife and kid.
“I will be flying to Japan for a press conference for Ryota Murata next week and will be talking to Honda about whether Ito’s first defense will be in the U.S. or Japan. Either way, ESPN will televise.”
Arum said Top Rank has many slots that are possibilities. Maybe we see Ito in November, or on December 1, underneath a Vasyl Lomachenko main event.
Follow Woods on Twitter.