Mika Iwakawa v Yuko Kuroki Atomweight Unification on the Horizon?
On September 1, the Atomweight division crowned two new champions that could face each other in a title unification. Newly crowned IBF champion Mika Iwakawa (11-6-1, 3KO) and WBO champion Yuko Kuroki (20-7-2, 9KO) are champions again. This places a possible unification on the horizon.
FROM FORMER CHAMPIONS TO UNIFICATION HOPEFULL
Kuroki, now a two-divisional champion, came close to winning the IBF title in 2018. She would lose by a split decision to Saemi Hanagata in that match. She waited four years before defeating Nanae Suzuki for the WBO title. The two-divisional champion boxed beautifully en route to winning a unanimous decision.
Iwakawa, a former WBO champion, lost the title in a rematch against Suzuki by split decision on February 25. She was able to look past that defeat and capitalized on a title opportunity by defeating Ayaka Miyao in a close-quarters battle. The victory came via a narrow unanimous decision. A two-time champion, the 39-year-old Iwakawa still may have something left for one last major fight.
IS A UNIFICATION NEXT?
With hopes of unification between Miyao and Suzuki no longer on the table, it falls on Iwakawa and Kuroki to fill the void. This fight should be easy to make considering they both are from Japan, and won their titles under the same promoter, Yukio Sebata.
The atom weight division doesn’t get a lot of press. Hopefully a unification, with an angle towards undisputed, would change that.
By: Garrisson Bland