The Man with a Million Mandatories is back on the clock. The WBO have officially ordered super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka, fresh off a draw with Joshua Franco in an attempted unification, has 30 days to come to terms with former flyweight champion Junto Nakatani or face a purse bid.
Nakatani (24-0, 18 KO), who turned in a strong performance in his 115-pound debut by clearly beating a man in Francisco Rodriguez Jr who’d given Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KO) fits in 2021, would make for a terrific fight. The odds don’t seem to be in favor of that happening next, though; Ioka has made clear that he wants a shot at WBC champ Juan Francisco Estrada and, per Julius Julianis, signaled a willingness to vacate his title to make it happen.
Honestly, fair play if he does so. Ioka’s fought everyone the sanctioning body has sent his way for years, so if he decides that at 33 years old that he’d rather fight one of the division’s biggest names than another monstrous young up-and-comer, more power to him. Plus, he’d make for a great fight with Estrada; this wouldn’t be the first time he’d underperformed and then roared back with the performance of a lifetime.
That would leave Nakatani to fight fellow former flyweight titlist Kosei Tanaka, who’s 3-0 since Ioka proved too much, too soon for him on NYE 2020, for the vacant title. That would also be an absolute banger, so this seems like a win-win scenario.