Kazuto Ioka Possibly Facing Penalties Following His Win Over Kosei Tanaka
Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15 KOs) should be basking in glory following his stunning eighth-round TKO win over Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9 KOs) to retain the WBO Junior Bantamweight title on December 31, 2020. However, it seems that in the days following his greatest victory as a pro, Ioka may be in a bit of hot water.
That is because the 31-year-old resident of Tokyo has broken one of the rules of the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC). According to their guidelines, boxers cannot fight with any public tattoos or other markings that may offend audiences. Fighters are, however, allowed to fight as long as the tattoo is covered
The champ sported a large tattoo covering much of his left arm during his win over Tanaka. According to Japanese boxing source Asian Boxing, the four-division world champion tried to cover up the tattoo in the dressing room before the fight.
However, in the ring, Ioka fought with his tattoo on full display. Now the JBC plans to convene and decide if he will be reprimanded. After the fight, Ioka has said that the rule is antiquated and hopes it will be changed.
A WINDOW INTO JAPANESE CULTURE
This is a hotly debated cultural topic in Japan. Its roots go back to the old stigma that tattoos are associated with organized crime in the country. Because of this stigma, tattoos were banned.
It was not until September of 2020 that the Japanese Supreme Court legalized non-medical tattoos. In the days following the controversy involving Ioka, even fellow Japanese world champions chimed in to give their opinion.
IBF/WBA “Super” World Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) and WBA “Super” World Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9, KOs) had a friendly back and forth with each other on Twitter regarding the issue.
Inoue seems to take a more traditional approach. His contention seems to be that rules are the rules. If you have beef, bring it up with the proper authorities beforehand.
Kyoguchi offers a more flexible and nuanced stance. His attitude is that while he understands the rule, there needs to be a further discussion on the matter.
There is a sport within the sport that’s often impacted by societal standards. To observers here in the West, this may be viewed as a trivial matter. However, to other parts of the world, their issues are full of complexity. At the very least, it is a sign that boxing is truly a global sport. Stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing for further updates.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.