WBA flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka relinquished his belt Thursday, his father and gym president Kazunori Ioka announced.
The elder Ioka told a news conference his son had been scheduled to defend his title for the sixth time on Dec. 31, but he will not be ready because he has not been able to keep up his training after getting married earlier this year.
The 28-year-old boxer’s future plans are undecided, his father said.
“If he is up for it, I am ready to train him any time,” Kazunori Ioka said. “If he doesn’t have the motivation, he has no choice but to retire. It’s one or the other.”
Kazuto Ioka, who conquered his third weight classes when he became the WBA flyweight champ in April 2015 and has matched Yoko Gushiken’s Japan record of 14 world title bout wins, married singer Nana Tanimura in May.
The planned sixth title defense of Ioka that was scheduled for the New Year's Eve card in Osaka is certainly off.
He was going to face the official challenger, #1 ranked Ukrainian Artem Dalakian. Ioka has been starring annually in the great boxing functions on New Year's Eve in Japan for six calendar years.
Ioka, who now lives in Tokyo after getting married in May with famous Japanese singer Nana Tanimura, 30 years old, did not show up to Thursday's press conference.
Kazunori Ioka says that his son must devote himself to boxing with everything where he surrenders himself both physically and spiritually in search of perfection in his human life as a professional boxer with discipline and endurance.
At the press conference, Kazunori Ioka narrated that "My son Kazuto did not train at the Ioka Boxing Gym in Osaka since his last fight in April, because he now lives in Tokyo since he got married in May. There is not enough time to prepare for Kazuto to be in the best physical condition for the fight on December 31. This is the reason why I could not help but cancel the fight for New Year's Eve in Osaka."
"Kazuto is running three or four times a week in Tokyo and his weight does not exceed 60 kilos. I imagine that Kazuto has no intention of leaving boxing, I think that Kazuto is able to achieve good physical conditions and I'm willing to prepare a return fight for Kazuto in 2018 as long as my son has the desire to continue his boxing life, which always depends on Kazuto's will. If you don't have the motivation for boxing, it's the precise moment when you have to leave boxing."