Fernando Martinez Dethrones Kazuto Ioka; Becomes Unified Champion

Fernando Martinez Becomes Unified Champion

Collage of Fernando Martinez vs Kazuto Ioka
Fernando Martinez defeats Kazuto Ioka.

Fernando Martinez Outduels Kazuto Ioka in a Candidate For Fight of The Year

The unified junior bantamweight champion was at stake as WBA titleholder Kazuto Ioka (31-3-1, 16 KOs) battled IBF belt-holder Fernando “Pumita” Martinez (17-0, 9 KOs) at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena in Tokyo, Japan. 

Ioka is a fistic living legend in his home country of Japan. Already a four-division world champion, he came into this contest with plenty of hunger as he’s ultimately on a mission to conquer 115. He faced a Martinez who had similar aspirations. Pumita entered the contest feeling that he was the man to beat at junior bantamweight.

RELATED: Martinez Serves Ancajas Multiple Beatings To Remain IBF Champion


Martinez came out guns blazing as he took the fight to Ioka in the opening rounds, punching with mean intentions. A right hand from Martinez seemed to wobble Ioka at the midway point of round three. 

However, the WBA champion is a warrior in his own right. In round four, Ioka began to land with hard body shots that forced Martinez to use the ring. There was no let up by both men. The action was brutal and fought at a tremendous pace.

The hot action continued during the middle rounds. Martinez was throwing more shots and seemed to be the harder puncher. Although, Ioka was punching with more accuracy.

RELATED: Kazuto Ioka: “I Want To Unify To Draw Estrada Into A Fight!”

In the championship rounds, Martinez continued to pour on relentless pressure and throw punches in bunches. Ioka has a chin of granite and fought back hard. However, it was Martinez who was the stronger fighter throughout. 

Ultimately, the judges scored the fight for Pumita by unanimous decision (116-112, 117-111, 120-108) in what turned out to be a highly entertaining scrap. While this reporter felt the fight was closer than the judges indicated, Martinez did enough to win. Up next for Pumita could be a battle with two-time WBC champion Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, who was in attendance watching the fight. 

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About Mike W.2035 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.