Kazuto Ioka stops Aston Palicte in ten rounds!
Former three-division champion Kazuto Ioka made history! He became the first Japanese fighter to win a world title in four weight divisions by stopping Aston Palicte in the tenth round to capture the vacant WBO super flyweight title.
This was one of his best performances as he did whatever he wanted to his opponent. He was in control of this bout from start to finish.
Fighting with the guile and professionalism of a true vet, Ioka began the contest behind the jab. He fought making excellent use of his legs against the power-punching Palicte. At 5’5”, Ioka is three inches shorter than the 5’8” Filipino.
In addition, because of the height difference, Ioka made sure to fight in a crouch to further evade shots.
For the first six rounds, the Japanese star boxed from the outside in a tight circle. He effectively used the left hand and feints to setup combinations to the head and body. Palicte marched forward behind the jab, looking to find a home for power shots. However, he found it difficult to land consistently against an elusive Ioka who was disciplined and defensively responsible.
At the start of round seven, Palicte started to fight with a sense of urgency. Picking up the pace, the Filipino threw more punches with success, landing right-hands and left hooks. For his part, Ioka waded out the storm and decided to engage with Palicte on the inside; doing a nice job of landing with body punches.
Though, what was most impressive is how he was able to take the power shots of the bigger man!
While the seventh was the best round of the fight for Palicte, starting in the eighth, the Japanese champion regained control. Getting back to establishing the jab and boxing, Ioka was in complete control during rounds eight and nine.
In the tenth, the hometown favorite struck with power shots of his own. With 1:30 to go in the round, Ioka stunned Palicte with a right-hand, left hook combination. He followed up with shots to the head and body that further hurt his opponent and backed him up, forcing referee Kenny Chevalier to call a halt to the contest with 1:14 to go in the round.
This was a clinic by Ioka and elevated him right back among the top fighters among the smaller-weight divisions and a major player in the super flyweight division.
Also, in Japan specifically, Ioka’s win sets up a mega-fight against current flyweight champion and fellow Japanese star Kosei Tanaka, who is rumored to be moving up to super flyweight sooner rather than later.
Before the fight, the new champion expressed possibly retiring. With this win, I am inclined to believe he may stick around a little longer!
By: Michael Wilson Jr.