Earlier today we got the news that we originally speculated back on March 13th, Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5) would be defending his OPBF Lightweight title on the undercard of Kazuto Ioka's (14-0, 9) upcoming world title fight with Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0, 5).
Although originally no opponent was named for Nakatani that all changed this morning when it was announced that the rangy 24 year old would be fighting against Japanese based Filipino Ricky Sismundo (26-7-1, 12). Sismundo, also known by his "Japanese ring name" as Mondo Harada, is ranked #7 by the OPBF and is unbeaten in 5 fights, with 4 KO wins coming in hose 5 contests.
Although he's far from a big name Sismundo has shared the ring with some notable opponents including twice facing Weng Haya, Daud Cino Yordan, Terdsak Kokietgym, Billy Dib and most recently Dante Jardon. He has lost to all of them admittedly but Nakatani will know that Sismundo has been in former world champion and championship level fighters.
In regards to the show this will act as the third title bout behind not only Ioka's challenge of Amnat for the IBF Flyweight but also the IBF Minimumweight title defence Katsunari Takayama (26-6-0-1, 10) who will be defending his belt against Shin Ono (17-5-2, 2).
Further details released about the card have also seen the very promising Sho Ishida (15-0, 8) and Takahiro Yamamoto (12-3, 9) added to the show.
(Poster courtesy of boxmob.com)
Back on March 13th we told you all to get ready for an big announcement from Ioka Boxing Gym regarding an IBF double header in Osaka. That announcement came earlier today as it was confirmed that Kazuto Ioka (14-0, 9) will attempt to claim the IBF Flyweight title as he battles fellow unbeaten Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0, 5) and that Katsunari Takayama (26-6-0-1, 10) will be defending his IBF Minimumweight title against fellow Japanese fighter Shin Ono (17-5-2, 2).
The bouts, as mentioned originally, are scheduled to take place on May 7th though we were wrong on the venue with the bouts being confirmed for the at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, AKA the Bodymaker Colosseum, and not the Osaka City gym.
Rather amazingly we seem to have gotten everything but the venue right. It seems, although not widely reported, that OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5) will also be in action as we mentioned in the original report. No opponent has been named for Nakatani though we do love to watch the heavy handed and very rangy youngster in action.
As for the fights themselves. The Ioka/Amnat bout will be Amnat's first defense of the IBF Flyweight title whilst it's also the a chance for Ioka to become one of the select few Japanese fighter to have become a 3-weight world champion and to get revenge for a loss in the 2008 Kings Cup when the when the fighters met as amateurs. Incidentally this bout was announced on Ioka's 25th birthday, a lovely birthday present for the Japanese youngster and likely the reason the announcement was delayed longer than we expected.
For Takayama this will be his second IBF title defense whilst Ono will be competing at the world level for the first time in his 24 fight career. A loss for Takayama would see every Minimimumweight world title having changed hands in the last 6 months though he will certainly start as the clear favourite against his compatriot.
A reliable source has informed us that the Ioka Boxing Gym is set to announce a title triple header for May 7th from the Osaka Central City Gymnasium.
The biggest of the three title fights which has been mentioned will see the unbeaten Kazuto Ioka (14-0, 9) attempt to claim the IBF Flyweight title as he battles fellow unbeaten Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0, 5).
Amnat won the IBF title back in January when he defeated Rocky Fuentes in a hard fought decision victory. It was widely expected that he'd "sit his title on ice" until a prospective pay day to fight China's Zou Shiming instead however it appears Amnat, aged 35, has realised he hasn't got time to waste and has accepted Ioka's challenger.
For Ioka this gives him a chance to become a 3-weight world champion, something he made clear he wanted to be when he vacated the WBA Light Flyweight title just a few weeks ago. Ioka had been negotiating with both Amnat and Argentina's Juan Carlos Reveco and although we believe Reveco was the #1 choice there is little doubt that Ioka will be happy to have gotten a fight with Amnat.
As well as Amnat's defense of an IBF title there is also a strong, albeit it continuing, rumour that Katsunari Takayama (26-6-0-1, 10) will be defending his IBF Minimumweight title against fellow Japanese fighter Shin Ono (17-5-2, 2). This bout, one that we mentioned was in the works a short while back, isn't as good as we expected to see from Takayama's point of view though could be seen as a stay busy defense for the talented and likeable "Lighting Kid".
Takayama has been publicly calling out the other champions in unification bouts though now appears to have come to the conclusion that he might as well be busy whilst the top fighters continue to avoid him. Hopefully though his next fight will be with either Merlito Sabillo, Osvaldo Novoa or Hekkie Budler. Of the three other champions it's Budler that seems the mostly likely.
For Ono this is a huge chance and although he is a former OPBF champion he would be a clear under-dog against the exceptional Takayama. Ono, best known for his controversial victory over Omari Kimweri, is talented though should have nothing to trouble Takayama.
The third title bout that is mooted for this same show will feature OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5). Although no opponent has yet to be named it's rarely dull to see Nakatani in action.
It was actually a comment from Nakatani that seemed to hint a solid card was being put together for an Osaka show in May and whilst we're still none the wiser on his opponent we can't complain at the fact that this card is already looking like an excellent super show.
We're hoping that this will be televised on TBS though of course as it's yet to be confirmed TBS haven't been able to announce it. All we'll say is sit and wait, we're expecting the full card to be announced in the next 48 hours by Ioka Gym headed by Kazuto's uncle Hiroki Ioka, himself a former 2-weight world champion.
(Image of the Ioka Boxing Logo is courtesy of Ioka Boxing)
Whilst we knew that there was going to be at least 1 major "New Years Eve" card in Japan with Takashi Uchiyama and Takashi Miura in action, we found today that there was actually going to be a second.
Promoted by Ioka, the "other" New Years Eve show will be televised on TBS and feature current WBA Light Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka defending his title against unbeaten Nicaraguan prospect Felix Alvarado as well as Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki facing Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr in a none title bout.
Although details on the full card have yet to be released we expect these will be the headline bouts.
Kazuto Ioka (13-0, 9) will arguably be facing his toughest test as the Light Flyweight champion when he collides with Alvarado (18-0, 15) who is a tough and hard punching South American who has caught the eyes of a number of fans. We expect that this could be Ioka's final fight at 108lbs win or lose before he mounts a challenge at the Flyweight division.
Although Ioka is defending his title Miyazaki (20-0-3, 11), is fighting in a non-title bout against Sakkreerin Jr (22-2, 14). Like the Ioka contest this will be Light Flyweight, allowing Miyazaki an extra 3lbs from his usual fighting weight. We expect that this will serve as an opportunity for Miyazaki to test the waters at 108lbs before looking for a world title fight, likely for the belt that Ioka will vacate.
We're hoping, though it's merely our hope, that Masayoshi Nakatani (6-0, 5) may also be on this card. In fact if he's not he really needs to be in action very early in 2014 or else the memory of his victory over Shuhei Tsuchiya could well be forgotten before he gets the chance to capitalise on it.
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