Back in September news broke that WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] would be returning to the ring on December 31st to defend his title in a mandatory defense against Puerto Rican Jeyvier Cintron (10-1-0-1, 5).
Today that bout was officially announced, with Ioka holding a press conference to confirm the details of the bout, and talk about the contest.
Although not every was confirmed, what was did match up with what we'd already reported.
The bout between the two will indeed take place on December 31st at Ota Ward Gymnasium and will be shown on TBS. That confirmed a previous reported. There was no under-card bouts announced, though a deal is said to have been getting finalised recently and will be announced in the near future. That is said to be a huge Flyweight bout and will feature one of the other fights associated with TBS, meaning.
Ioka seemed to suggest that fighting on New Year's Eve allowed him to end the year happy. To prepare for Cintron he would be participating in a US training came from end of October, with his wife and son accompanying him over to the US. He explained that having family around had a positive impact on him, and he might bring his son into the ring if he wins against Cintron
In regard to Cintron we saw Ioka admit that he had "only seen the footage of the fight with Eto" though admit that "he moves well" and had a "a high level of skill because of his time as an amateur".
Unlike last year, where TBS's scheduled time frame for Ioka's fight was known before the bout was announced, this year the bout has been announced before TBS have clarified their end of year activities. Whilst it's unclear what TBS will doing for their general end of year show, we're personally hoping for a return to KYOKUGEN as they were always wonderfully entertaining and fun.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] fighting on New Year's Eve is a boxing tradition, like Mexican's fighting in early May and this year is likely to be no different with the WBO Super Flyweight champion set to announce that he will be facing mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (10-1-0-1, 5) at the end of the year.
The bout hasn't been formally announced, yet, though an announcement is expected in the coming weeks, but has been in the works for several weeks and is said to be signed, with just formalities to complete.
The contest has been in the works since Cintron defeated Koki Eto (24-5-1-1, 19) [江藤光喜] back in August, in what was the second bout between the two men.
Ioka, Japan's first male 4-weight world champion, won the WBO Super Flyweight title earlier this year, when he stopped Aston Palicte in an sensational performance back in June. He's been out of the ring since then, but always knew a mandatory would loom, ahead of the Cintron Vs Eto rematch.
The Japanese star is, of course, signed to fight on TBS in Japan. The same channel that also has links to WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] and WBA Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (13-0, 9) [京口 紘人].
TBS do try and send the year off with a big show, and it's expected that one of those other world champions will be in a supporting role to the Ioka Vs Cintron bout, with both men having spoke about unification bouts. Of course Kyoguchi will be making his own mandatory defense on October 1st, against Tetsuya Hisada (34-9-2, 20) [久田 哲也], but he, and Tanaka, would likely both fancy their place on the end of year card.
As well as the other world champions signed to TBS there are a number of other fighters who work closely with the channel, and it's likely there will be at least 1 solid non-world title bout on the card.
Unlike last year's New Year's Eve card, which took place in Macau due to licensing issues on Ioka's behalf, this one is set to take place in Tokyo. It's also expected to follow Fuji's card, which will take place a day or two before hand. That Fuji card has yet to have any solid rumours emerge, though it's likely to be a bumper card with at least 2 world title bouts on it.
Sadly last night wasn't to be for the exciting but crude Koki Eto (24-5-1-1, 19) [江藤光喜] who failed to pin down talented, yet frustrating, Puerto Rican Jeyvier Cintron (10-1-1, 5) in their rematch.
The two men, who had fought in May with that bout ending in the first round following a brutal headclash, had been expected to have a pretty fun fight. Sadly this rematch failed to live up to expectations.
The early going saw a fleet foot footed Cintron simply out boxing a wild, and clumsy Eto. The Japanese fighter spent much of the early going being hit and flailing at the air. It was as if Eto though his only chance to win was landing a bomb and catching Cintron clean, whilst Cintron knew how to box, move and, for the most part, avoid Eto's shots whilst landing counters in return. One of those counters sent Eto to the seat of his pants in round 2, though didn't really hurt, more dropping him from the lack of general balance and self control of Eto.
Eto managed to have success in round 3, as he finally began to use his pressure effectively, though that was turned on it's head in round 4 when Cintron got on his bike. A bike he pretty much stayed on to the end of the fight. There were moments where Eto caught up with the Puerto Rican but struggled to land anything significant, whilst Cintron landed the flashier shots before getting away and trying to avoid risks.
After 10 rounds there was no doubting the winner, with Cintron taking the decision 99-90 on all 3 cards, though the crowd were unhappy about Cintron's tactics, which were incredibly negative after a really good start to the fight.
With this win Cintron becomes the mandatory challenger for the WBO Super Flyweight title, and will get a shot at the belt, currently held by Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔]. The suspicion that he will have to wait for that shot though, with Ioka expected to get permission to fight in a big bout in December, on a Japanese New Year's Eve card, before making the mandatory in the new year.
The brilliant @Boxrecgrey revealed yesterday that a date, venue and broadcaster had been found for the rematch between Koki Eto (24-4-1-1, 19) [江藤光喜] and Jeyvier Cintron (10-0-1, 5), after their No Contest earlier in the year.
For those who have forgotten the first bout between the two men, it ended in controversial fashion after a headclash left Cintron stumbling around the ring. To the naked eye it looked like a right hand had done the damage, but on replay it was clearly a headclash. The result was originally announced as an opening round victory for Eto, before replays were inspected and the result was over-turned minutes later.
Originally the bout, which took place back in May, we to decide the mandatory challenger for the WBO Super Flyweight title, which at the time was vacant but was won earlier this week by Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔], who became Japan's first male 4-weight champion. We would expect the winner of this rematch to get a world title shot at Ioka in the new year.
The rematch, as per Boxrecgrey's tweet, will take place on August 2nd in Florida and will be televised by Telemundo as part of an All Star Boxing card. Sadly it doesn't have the exposure that the first bout had, which was aired via ESPN, but the interest and controversy could help draw attention to a fairly interesting smaller US card.
Yesterday we saw Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] put on one of his best performances to date, as he scored a 10th round TKO win over Filipino Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21) to become the new WBO Super Flyweight champion.
Today, following that win, Ioka took part in a press conference and spoke about the contest as well his future.
Ioka revealed that he was tired and in pain but relieved to have become a 4-weight world champion. Talking about pain it's worth noting that he seemingly damaged is right hand, as he was icing it through parts of the press event. He stated he was about to use the gameplan he had practiced and and suggested he could continued to develop and build in the coming years.
Those comments were a long way removed from comments he'd made last week, suggesting this could have been his last bout, which seems to have been more a view that he had nowhere to go if he lost to Palicte.
When it came to future bouts Ioka didn't seem to know what his next bout was going to be, with the original plan being a mandatory defense against the winner of the recent Koki Eto (24-4-1-1, 19) [江藤光喜] Vs Jeyvier Cintron (10-0-1, 5) bout, which was ruled a no-contest.
He did however reveal he wanted to increase his name internationally, and seemed to be interested in possible bouts with WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada and WBA champion Kal Yafai. Sadly we've spent the last few years hearing the Super Flyweight champions talk about unification bouts but never actually go through with that talk, fingers crossed this is different.
Reports from Japan also suggest the bout hit a peak audience of 14.9% and an average of 11.5%, though the figures haven't been broken down into region specific figures so it's hard to approximate what the actual audience was, or whether those national figures. If those were national figures than Ioka really is a Japanese sporting mega-star.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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