By Jake Donovan
Juan Carlos Reveco looks for his second career win in Japan, while Kazuto Ioka hopes to turn a second chance into a third divisional title when the two collide Wednesday evening at Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, Japan.
Reveco (35-1, 19KOs) will travel to Japan for just the second time in his career, with the bout coming just one day shy of his 11-year anniversary in the pro ranks. The previous trek to the Far East resulted in a 12-round win over Masayuki Kuroda in his first official defense as a full flyweight titlist, having reigned as an interim titlist since 2010.
His lone other road trip outside of Argentina came way back in Dec. '07, ending his brief stay as a 108 lb. titlist with a points loss to Brahim Asloum in France.
Ioka (16-1, 10KOs) makes his second attempt at become a titlist in three weight classes. The 26-year enjoyed alphabet title stays at strawweight and junior flyweight before moving up to flyweight last year. The move up the scales resulted in his first career loss, dropping a 12-round decision to unbeaten Amnat Ruenroeng, who still serves as one of the best flyweights in the world.
Two wins have since followed for Ioka, both coming against water-treading competition. More than half of his career has been spent in title fights, beginning with his 5th round knockout of Oleydong Sithsamerchai in 2011, winning a strawweight title in just his 7th pro fight.
The last fight of his strawweight reign served as the first time in history that two fighters from Japan met in a title unification match. Ioka and Akira Yaegashi did their part to commemorate the moment, throwing down for 12 vicious rounds, with Ioka earning a close but clear decision to unify two belts at strawweight.
Both fighters abandoned the division following the fight. Yaegashi went on to win the World flyweight crown, while Ioka enjoyed a year-long stay as a 108 lb. titlist. The World flyweight championship is now in the lethal hands of unbeaten rising star Róman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez.
The flyweight title bout will air live on TBS in Japan. Read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes the flyweight action plays out.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: JUAN CARLOS REVECO vs. KAZUTO IOKA
Ryan Burton (Ioka UD): “Reveco is tough and will win rounds but won't do nearly enough to win in Japan.”
Jake Donovan (Ioka UD): “Anywhere else in the world and I’d probably favor Reveco’s chances a little more. I still think it’s a coin-flip fight, but expect Ioka to get the benefit of the doubt in close rounds to take a close, perhaps debatable decision in a thriller.”
Takahiro Onaga (Ioka UD): “Ioka win UD-Kazuto win Flyweight title at second time of asking. He make most of size adavantages and fight from range.”
Cliff Rold (Ioka Dec.): “Reveco has never been stopped and I suspect he hears the bell here. It won't be enough to overcome the height and straighter punches of Ioka. This should be violent and maybe even a fight of the year candidate.”
Victor Salazar (Ioka UD): “The fight should go 12 and provide a nice action appetizer before the weekend. In the end, advantage of youth and homefield will lead to an Ioka decision.”
Alexey Sukachev (Reveco SD): “I'll go with the upset here. Ioka was matched remarkably tough in 2011 and the first half of 2012, But then he went soft in the next three figths, and it has hit him back against Ruenrong. I'm still no convinced he belongs to the elite of his third weight class. Reveco, albeit smaller, was very consistent over the last several years beating some well-establiched contenders like Vor Saenghtip or Ricardo Nunez. He also has a road win in Japan, so he knows what it's all about. Reveco will force Ioka into a phone booth war and will outslug him there just narrowly for another win.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox