After hurling a frankly unreasonable number of mandatories his way over the years, the WBO is finally free of Kazuto Ioka. Yahoo Japan reports that the four-division champion has vacated his super flyweight title ahead of a scheduled purse bid with Junto Nakatani in favor of pursuing a rematch with WBA titlist Joshua Franco.
Per Jake Donovan, said rematch is targeted for June.
Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KO) had previously expressed a desire to challenge Juan Francisco Estrada for the WBC belt, but you have to respect his willingness to face Franco (18-1-3, 8 KO) again. The general consensus from the boxing public seems to be that Ioka was fortunate to get away with a draw after getting outworked by his younger foe. As much as I would have loved to see him fight the red-hot Nakatani, I feel like he’s earned the right to choose his battles at this point.
As for Nakatani, Andrew Moloney and Kosei Tanaka sit behind him in the WBO rankings. Moloney has said that he wants a shot at Juan Francisco Estrada, which he’s technically got the rights to since he sits at number one in the WBC rankings, so we’ll see how it plays out. I, for one, would not complain about seeing Nakatani fight Tanaka.