The official weigh ins for tomorrows card in Osaka took place early today and saw the men in involved in the main event and co-feature all made weight.
The co-feature, which sees former WBA Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki taking on world ranked Thai Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr saw both men weighing in dead on the Light Flyweight limit of 108lbs. This was no surprise as both Miyazaki (20-0-3, 11) and Sakkreerin Jr (22-2, 14) were actually going up in weight from their last fight. Maybe the biggest surprise here though is that Miyazaki was dead on the weight, perhaps suggesting his stay at 108lbs isn't going to be as long as we thought it may be. This may well be a stop gap for the young Japanese fighter who could be looking at an immediate jump to Flyweight, where he actually began his career.
For the main event we were surprised by the weight of both Kazuto Ioka (106.5lbs) and Nicaraguan challenger Felix Alvarado (106.75lbs). This is the lightest Ioka has been since his final Minimumweight title fight back in June 2012 whilst the challenger is the lightest he has ever been. The ease with which both men mad weight here is rather striking and could suggest that they have over-trained or possibly that Ioka has no intentions of moving up to Flyweight, something we had assumed was a given earlier in the week.
The main event, which will be the 3rd defense of the WBA Light Flyweight title by Ioka (13-0, 9) is to be aired on TBS and is the first world title fight for Alvarado (18-0, 15). For those wondering about our thoughts on the bout, you can read our preview here.
Today saw the pre-fight screen of WBA Light Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka and Nicaraguan foe Felix Alvarado. The screening, done ahead of their world title fight on New Years Eve gave us some interesting details about both men which have been added to our "Tale of the Tape" chart which can be seen below.
As you can see Ioka, despite being the taller man by over 2cm has the significantly smaller reach and will be giving away 5.5cm in that area. This could well see Alvarado having a chance to neutralise the jab and straight shots, especially to the body from Ioka. On the flipside however is the fact that Alvarado does seem likely to give up his reach and try and get inside effectively losing this advantage.
Away from the physical traits it's worth nothing that whilst both are unbeaten Ioka has the higher quality experience and, despite being in fewer fights, almost twice as many rounds as Alvarado. It's worth noting that, despite not being shown on this table, Alvarado has only been beyond 6 rounds once and never completed a 12 rounder before whilst Ioka has completed 12 rounds twice and has an average fight length of over 7 rounds, something that will certainly help him as the fight goes on.
The fight, televised on TBS as part of "Kyokugen 2013", promises to be a great fight though as mentioned in our preview, we certainly see only one winner.
Unbeaten Japanese fighter Ryo Miyazaki (20-0-3, 11) has officially vacated the WBA Minimumweight title according to the promotional team behind him, Ioka Gym. An announcement which is unlikely to shock anyone who had been following Miyazaki's recent bouts.
Miyazaki's reign, which began on December 31st last year, has been an interesting one. He won the title in a barnstormer with Thailand's Pornsawan Porpramook after stable mate Kazuto Ioka had vacated the belt and then made 2 defenses of the title. The first defense, a decisive KO over Mexico's Carlos Velarde, was eye catching to say the least, though in the second defense Miyazaki struggled with Jesus Silvestre, a bout many felt the Mexican deserved.
Following the Silvestre bout it seemed clear Miyazaki would be heading Light Flyweight, a division where he has already won the Japanese and OPBF titles. This was cemented when it was announced that Miyazaki would be fighting in a non-title bout at 108lbs against Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr on New Years Eve this year. What wasn't known however was whether or not Miyazaki would be keeping his title "just in case".
Following Miyazaki's move here we're expecting a series of follow up moves that should lead us to some very exciting match ups. Firstly were expecting that Kazuto Ioka, if he's successful against Felix Alvarado, will also be moving up a division and vacating the WBA Light Flyweight title. We know Miyazaki has eyes on that belt but so too does Naoya Inoue and a clash between the two is certainly not out of the realms of plausibility for 2014. Of course Kazuto Ioka won't be vacating with out something lined up for himself and it'd make sense if that was a rematch with Akira Yaegashi for the WBC Flyweight title.
With Ryuji Hara, ranked #4 at 105lbs by the WBA, looking to advance his career there may be an opening for him to fight for the newly vacated WBA Minimumweight title. Alternatively Thailand's Wanheng Menayothin, the WBA #3 ranked fighter, may also see this as his opening for a world title fight.
It looks like 2013 is ending with a decision that could well shape much of next year, can't complain about that really.
Video below shows Miyazaki's KO over Velarde, a forgotten contender for KO of the year 2013 (video courtesy of Sweetboxing Knockouts)
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