Kazuto Ioka and Donnie Nietes Sequel Likely for July in Japan
In April 2022, 3Kings Boxing reported that the World Boxing Organization ordered a match between current WBO junior bantamweight champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15 KOs) and mandatory challenger Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23 KOs). Here are the latest developments. According to the source, Asian Boxing, the goal is to have the bout take place in July, with Ioka’s country of Japan as the targeted locale.
Should negotiations become finalized, it would be a rematch between the two. Nietes defeated Ioka to win the then-vacant WBO 115-pound title in December 2018. From that moment, their careers have gone in decidedly different directions.
BECOMING STAGNANT VS. STEADILY PROGRESSING
Nietes decided to vacate the belt because he didn’t want to face countryman and then-mandatory challenger Aston Palicte. Then without explanation, the four-division world champ vanished from the scene, not fighting in 2019 and 2020. After signing a deal with Probellum in September 2020, the 39-year-old returned to the ring, fighting twice in 2021.
Ioka rebounded from the loss to Nietes in a resounding fashion. Also a four-division world champion, he stopped Palicte in ten rounds to win the vacant WBO strap in June 2019 and has defended the belt four times. The highlight of his current title reign was a dominant eighth-round TKO over three-division champion Kosei Tanaka in December 2020. Ioka has been so impressive in recent outings that the 33-year-old is ranked seventh in the 3Kings Boxing Top Ten Fighter Rankings.
As the source noted, July 18 is Marine Day in Japan, a national holiday there. It would make sense to have the match in or around that time to take advantage of that holiday. Stay tuned to 3Kings Boxing for further updates.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.