Kazuto Ioka Retains WBO Title; Tanaka, Gonzalez Possible!

Kazuto Ioka Makes First Title Defense!

Kazuto Ioka, Kosei Tanaka and Roman Gonzalez
From left to bottom right: Kazuto Ioka, Kosei Tanaka and Roman Gonzalez.

Kazuto Ioka Outworks Jeyvier Cintron To Remain WBO Champion!

Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14 KOs) was forced to work hard and grind, but out-hustled mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-1, 5 KOs) to earn a well-received unanimous decision win (116-112, 116-112, 115-113). He has now made his first defense of the WBO super flyweight title.


Cintron got off to an excellent start. Through the first three rounds, the elusive southpaw used his feet along with his advantages in height and reach to establish distance, forcing Ioka to bring the fight to him. Whenever the champion would apply pressure to cut the distance, Cintron would pop him with jabs and counter left hands, then step around to avoid danger.

Sensing he was going to be in a dog fight, the 30 year-old from Tokyo would step up the intensity in rounds four and five. Fighting at a higher pace, he focused on the body of the challenger to good effect.

The middle rounds saw Cintron’s work rate decrease. Ioka continued to pound the Puerto Rican’s body while sporting a wry, confident smile as if he was hunting down prey.

The challenger was showing fatigue by round ten. While getting home with a fair share of shots during the last two rounds, he did so in retreat. Cintron didn’t fight with the urgency of someone attempting to win a world title on enemy territory.

In the end, the body attack and professionalism of Ioka proved the difference. He adapted and made adjustments during the bout like a seasoned pro.


With this mandatory defense out of the way, look for big things for the champ in 2020. A four-time, four-division world champion, there’s a potential domestic super-fight against countryman and current WBO flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka in the year’s first quarter.

Another possibility is a match against former Pound-4-Pound king Roman Gonzalez. There has been talk of a fight between these two for years. Could we finally see it next year? Hardcore boxing geeks will be waiting in anticipation for Kazuto Ioka’s next move.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.2010 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.