3.5 years after dropping a controversial split decision, WBO junior bantamweight titlist Kazuto Ioka avenged his only loss since 2014 this morning with a one-sided decision win over fellow multi-division champion Donnie Nietes.
The 40-year-old Nietes (43-2-6, 23 KO) looked shaky in last December’s draw with Norbelto Jimenez, which was reportedly changed from a 12- to a 10-rounder without Jimenez’s knowledge, and Ioka (29-2, 15 KO) reportedly took full advantage with high volume and his signature wilting body attack. Ioka claimed victory and his fifth WBO title defense with scores of 120-108, 118-110, and 117-111.
Some kind souls have put the whole thing on YouTube, but in the interest of keeping them safe from the jaws of copyright claims, I will not be linking them. You know what to search to find it.
Ioka, 33, should now be free to pursue unification or other big-money fights. Four of his five defenses have come against mandatory challengers; the only exception was Ryoji Fukunaga, who stepped up on two weeks’ notice to replace then-IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas.
WBC champ Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez and WBA champ Juan Francisco Estrada are booked, which just leaves current IBF champion Fernando Martinez at the moment, but it’s been almost five months since “Pumita” upset Ancajas and it’s still not clear whether there’ll be a rematch.
Chocolatito, maybe? A guy can dream.