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Friday. January 1. 2021

Ioka stops Tanaka in 8th round, retains WBO super flyweight title in showdown

World Boxing Organization super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka of Ambition GYM, connecting with a left-hook counter, stopped top-ranked challenger Kosei Tanaka of Soul Box Hatanaka Boxing Gym in the eighth round to retain his title in Tokyo on Dec. 31.

The end of the scheduled 12-rounder at the Ota Ward Gymnasium came 1 minute and 35 seconds into the round when the 31-year-old Ioka landed a left hook counter to the head, and Tanaka was severely staggered, prompting the referee to call off the fight.

Ioka, who made his second successful defense of the title he won in June 2019, scored clean knockdowns in the fifth and sixth rounds also with a left hook counter.

The 25-year-old previously undefeated Tanaka occasionally landed speedy one-two straight punches, Ioka quickly took a few steps to the side to avert Tanaka’s follow-up punches while landing combination blows at a close range.

After the fight, Ioka, the only Japanese who won world titles in four different weight categories, said, ‘’Since I have kept saying that I will show the difference of class all the time, I am happy that I was able to prove it. Tanaka is a kind of boxer who will lead the Japanese boxing world in the future. I don’t know for how long I can continue active career. Therefore, I want to have a big match with champion (s) of the other sanctioning bodies abroad.’’

With the victory, Ioka improved his record to 26 wins, including 15 KOs, against two defeats. Meanwhile, Tanaka, who has captured WBO minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight crowns, has a 15-1 win-loss record with nine KOs.

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