Our original speculation was that Ioka was targeting Argentina's Juan Carlos Reveco (32-1, 17) the current WBA "regular" Flyweight champion. This bout was a logical one to make and both fighters had been linked to each other for much of 2013. It looked enticing, exciting and the sort of bout that boxing fans should be drawn towards just due to the styles and recognition of the men involved.
One stumbling block with this fight is that Reveco has got a prior engagement and will be fighting ranked contender Manuel Vides on March 21st. That would give Reveco little more than 8 weeks to recover and be ready to fight Ioka in May.
It seems however that Reveco isn't the only option for Ioka and apparently the Ioka team are also in negotiations with Thailand's unbeaten IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng (12-0,5) in a bout that could be easier to make and slightly more flexible in regards to timing. Amnat, who recently won the IBF title, was expected to sit out much of the year to collect a bumper pay packet for a fight with China's Zou Shiming later this year though if the Ioka team can offer a sizeable purse then there is every chance the Thai will travel to Japan rather than wait for a Macau card.
For Amnat the risk/reward will have to be right. He'll know that he'd be the under-dog against Ioka though would likely be able to fight Ioka in May then fight again, win or lose, to collect a second and possibly even a third pay day of the year. If he waits for a Shiming bout he could be waiting until November and their is no guarantee that Shiming will actually be ready for him by then.
Whilst it's not a certainty that Ioka get either man it's great to see that he is genuine in wanting to burst straight on to the Flyweight scene. He'll know perfectly well that WBC champion Akira Yaegashi has the next few months booked up with fights whilst Juan Francisco Estrada, the WBO and WBA "super" champion, is set to sign for an all Mexican bout with Giovani Segura and has gone for the other other champions.
If Ioka can manage to get one of those two fighters he's negotiating with then he could very easily become a 3 weight world champion later this year and his aim of becoming a 5 weight would champion will be well on it's way to becoming a reality.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.ioka-boxing.com)