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Home > Match Information > WBO super flyweight champ Ioka to defend title against ‘Little Pacquiao’ on Dec. 31

WBO super flyweight champ Ioka to defend title against ‘Little Pacquiao’ on Dec. 31

Dec 16, 2021 22:53 pm

World Boxing Organization super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka of Shisei Boxing Gym will defend his title against sixth-ranked Ryoji Fukunaga of Kadoebi Boxing Gym on Dec. 31 at Tokyo’s Ota City General Gymnasium, the Shisei gym said on Dec. 16.

The fight will be held since the initially planned title unification bout with International Boxing Federation’s champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines was cancelled earlier this month due to the Japanese government’s restrictions on entry into Japan by foreign residents in response to the spread of the Omicron variant overseas.

Negotiations concerning a possible title fight with Fukunaga had then been underway internally because the left-handed Fukunaga, who holds the WBO’s Asia-Pacific and Japanese titles simultaneously, has always wanted to challenge Ioka.

The 32-year-old Ioka, the only Japanese who has captured world titles in four different weight divisions, has so far successfully defended the WBO super flyweight title three times since winning it in June 2019.

‘’It’s too bad that I cannot have the title unification fight on New Year’s Eve. But I will do my best to win the fight (with Fukunaga) so that I can move onto the next stage. I am grateful because I can have a fight under current circumstances. Please cheer me up on New Year’s Eve.’’

For his part, the 35-year-old Fukunaga, dubbed ‘’Little (Manny) Pacquiao’’ because of his similar fighting style, said, ‘’I will be in a perfect shape by New Year’s Eve. I will stake my life on this fight so that I can change my life.’’

The scheduled 12-round title match is expected to be aired by TBS-affiliated TV stations nationwide from 6:30 P.M.

Ioka has a record of 27 wins, including 15 knockouts, against two losses, while Fukunaga, who is making his first crack at a world title, has a 15-4 win-loss tally with 14 KOs.

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