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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