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Ioka Returns To Win Column, Seeks Ruenroeng Rematch

By Jake Donovan

Former two-division champion Kazuto Ioka resumed his winning ways, scoring a 10-round decision over Pablo Carrillo in their non-title fight Tuesday evening in Tokyo, Japan. 

Scores were 99-91, 99-93 and 98-92, hardly an indication of the competitive nature of the fight, one that perhaps suggests Ioka is a man without a country in terms of weight class.

The bout was his first ring appearance since suffering the lone defeat of his career, a close-but-clear points loss to Amnat Ruenroeng this past May. The setback denied the 25-year old the opportunity to have won major titles in three weight classes, having enjoyed previous title reigns at strawweight and junior flyweight.

Tuesday's encounter with Carrillo was no walk in the park, providing Ioka the type of stiff challenge he needs at the higher weight, even if it's something he didn't necessarily want or expect. 

Carillo is a battle-tested boxer from Colombia whose lone two defeats heading in were to Luis Concepcion, twice going the distance with the two-fisted Panamanian knockout artist. Based on past résumé alone, Ioka should have planned to bring a lunch pail. The early rounds were grueling and fought on relatively even terms. 

Ioka picked up steam in the middle rounds, though never able to truly keep his determined challenger at bay. The only choice he had was to bite down and earn his opponent's respect, resulting in entertaining two-way action down the stretch which Ioka got the better of, but not without Carrillo (15-3, 8KOs) having his say.

The win was Ioka's first since a 12-round unanimous decision over Felix Alvarado last New Year's Eve. The bout—perhaps his finest all-around performance given the stakes and his level of opposition—was the last of his reign at junior flyweight, one that began exactly one year prior with a 6th round knockout of Jose Rodriguez. 

Big boxing events on New Year's Eve have become a major tradition in Japan, with the each of the past three years featuring two major cards taking place in separate parts of the nation shortly before watching the ball drop. Ioka has been a part of all three cards, and plans to continue the tradition this year, with designs of a second crack at Ruenroeng and the chance to become a three-division champ.

Ruenroeng did his part, surviving a mid-rounds knockdown and a determined effort by Puerto Rico's McWilliams Arroyo to claim a split decision win last Wednesday in Thailand. 

UNDERCARD
 
Ryo Miyazaki picked up his first win in more than a year, stopping overmatched Ichai Tobida in the fifth round of their over-the-limit junior flyweight bout.

The bout was less about the potential for competitive action as it was about Miyazaki acclimating himself to the junior flyweight division. Weight was a major point of contention in his last start, passing out at the weigh-in prior to an eventual 3rd round stoppage loss to Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. last New Year's Eve.

Miyazaki truthfully had no business even fighting that night, but was anxious to test the waters at junior flyweight following a brief stay as a strawweight titlist. In the nine months since that night, the 26-year old appeared fluid and comfortable while coming in below the contracted limit of 110 lb.

In shape and at full strength, Myazaki was way too much for his sub .500 opponent to handle. The action was entirely—and expectedly—one-way, all the way until its conclusive ending. Miyazaki dropped Tobida (10-13, 8KOs) hard roughly a minute into round five, with the count waived off after the journeyman's corner literally threw in the towel.

Miyazaki improves to 21-1-3 (12KOs). The win was his first since the final defense of his strawweight title, a 12-round majority decision over Jesus Silvestre just over a year ago, in a fight that easily could have landed in favor of the challenger. 

A protégé of Ioka, Miyazaki landed the strawweight title opportunity when his stablemate moved up in weight to challenge for—and win—a junior flyweight bout. It seems the student will follow in his teacher's footsteps, as Miyazaki is angling for a title shot at 108 lb., hoping for the opportunity to come on New Year's Eve.

Both bouts aired via same-day tape delay on TBS Japan.

Off-camera, former lineal flyweight champ Malcolm Tunacao picked up his third straight win, a technical decision over Ryuta Otsaka in a bout stopped midway through round five.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by LowBlowKO on 09-16-2014

I'd agree with Asianboxing, Ioka isn't ready for a world champion at 112. He did look good late in the bout but not good enough for one of the top dogs at 112. Another seasoning fight or two might be…

Comment by jas on 09-16-2014

Ruenrog would run again ....

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