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Kazuto Ioka May Make Run at Inoue, Fifth Title Before Retiring, Says Trainer

Kazuto Ioka (26-2) cemented his legacy on New Year's Eve, stopping unbeaten three-division champion Kosei Tanaka (15-1) in eight rounds to retain his WBO super flyweight title.  The bout served as a TBS main event in Japan on date that is traditionally reserved for the biggest fights in the country.

Many experts believed that the younger and fresher 25-year-old Tanaka would be too much for Ioka but the 31-year-old's moxie and intelligence proved to be the difference in the fight.

"The reality of this fight is that Tanaka is a young, hungry fighter but he had never fought anyone of the caliber of Ioka and when you have two great fighters meet in the ring - usually the experienced fighter emerges victorious and that is exactly what happened," Ioka's trainer, Ismael Salas, told

kazuto-ioka (7)

In a recent article published on, Salas revealed that the end is nearing for Ioka and that he may call it a career in the near future.

After conquering four divisions, there isn't much left for Ioka to achieve. 

However, Salas did say that making a run at five division titles is intriguing to the Japanese fighter and mentioned a current pound-for-pound great as a potential target.

"That is what we are analyzing. He confessed to me that he doesn't want to stay (in the sport) much longer but he is interested in moving up to 118 pounds where he can make history as a five-division champion. So far these are only conversations and nothing is concrete," said Salas.

"After the fight he said that he doesn't want to fight in Japan anymore and that he wants to finish his career by fighting in the United States.  There are several big fights that can be made at 115 and 118 pounds including a showdown against Naoya Inoue which I think would interest the fans."

Inoue, who is a three-division champion, currently holds the IBF and WBA bantamweight titles and is regarded by most experts as one of the top three fighters in the world. 

Send questions or comments to You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by tokon on 01-14-2021

[QUOTE=_Rexy_;21015525]Fair, Ioka would move to the front of the line. Guess you’re right. Ioka just fought so we’ll see who’s ready first. But Ioka/Inoue would do ****ing INSANE numbers in Japan. Maybe even set a record[/QUOTE] Definitely and, if Ioka…

Comment by Rotech on 01-14-2021

How about John Riel Casimero? Are you afraid of him also just like Inoue?

Comment by FinitoxDinamita on 01-14-2021

Such a bad ass fight. Im pretty sure that Ioka will give a tougher fight than old Donaire and I think he can win.

Comment by Joeboxeo on 01-14-2021

Ioka has a lot of guts in wanting to fight Inoue in a higher weight division. But first I'd like to see him tempted to unify the belts against Estrada or Chocolatito at 115 pounds.

Comment by _Rexy_ on 01-14-2021

[QUOTE=YoungManRumble;21016252]Fulton v Leo, I'm sure you know both of em haha. I'll bump my pathetic lonely thread now.[/QUOTE] Two top guys at Super Bantam, whats not to like? Leo picked up his strap vacant, but he didn't fight a no…

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