February 11th is a strange day in many ways as it has played a key part in 3 different WBC Minimumweight title bouts. What makes that a little bit weirder, it that the title has only ever been defended 8 times during the month of February, so from all the possible days in February one date has been used in 3 of the 8 bouts.
With that in mind we've decided to focus on the most recent of those, the 2011 clash that saw Japan's Kazuto Ioka announce himself on the world stage with a KO win against Oleydong Sithsamerchai.
The bout had looked like a ridiculous mismatch on paper. Ioka, a 21 year old Japanese fighter, was 6-0 (4) and had debuted less than 2 years earlier. Oleydong on the hand was 25 year's old, 35-0-1 (13) had defended the title 6 times already, and had been a pro for over 8 years. What those records didn't show however was that Ioka was a very accomplished amateur, a former Japanese standout and the nephew of former 2-weight world champion Hiroki Ioka. He wasn't just some novice, he was one of the brightest young talents in the sport.
Ioka would apply calculated pressure, impressive maturity and calculated boxing to drop Oleydong in round 2 before closing the show with a perfect body shot in round 5 to begin his journey to stardom, later taking titles at Light Flyweight and Flyweight and becoming a top contender. Oleydong would never manage to build his way back into the world title picture.
Other fights on this date:
2000-Wandee Singwangcha vs Jose Antonio Aguirre - WBC Minimumweight title fight, this was exactly 11 years before Ioka's win
1989-Napa Kiatwanchai vs John Arief - WBC Minmumweight title fight, this was exactly 11 years fore Wandee's bout with Aguirre.