In the unpaid ranks Ioka (pictured opposite) ran up an impressive 95-10 (64) record and since turning professional he has been a sensation.
In just his 7th professional bout Ioka dethroned the reigning WBC Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai who had entered the ring unbeaten in 36. Not long after claiming a world title the youngster unified it with the WBA title due to an historic victory over Akira Yaegahsi in what was the first ever all Japanese unification bout.
Following the victory over Yaegashi the growing Ioka moved up to Light Flyweight and immediately claimed the vacant WBA Light Flyweight title thanks to a stoppage over Jose Alfredo Rodriguez.
The 24 year old Japanese fighter may only have 80 professional rounds under his belt but to date his record has been excellent and so are his skills. He's shown a sharp jab, excellent movement, good toughness (despite being dropped by Indonesian veteran Heri Amol early in his career) and one of the best body attacks in the sport. Despite his young years and relative inexperience he's already looking like an experienced fighter who knows what's needed and when he needs it.
In the first defense of his Light Flyweight world title Ioka will face Thai southpaw Wisanu Kokietgym (43-8-2, 13) who despite his wealth of experience is only 29 himself.
Have made his professional debut way in 2001 Kokietgym and been in over 50 professional contests it should come as no surprise that he has been in over 300 professional rounds, though unfortunately for the Thai many of those have been against weak opposition. The better opponents that the Thai has faced, for example Z Gorres and Nethra Sasiprapa, have beaten him, and so to have some of the weaker opponents.
For a man with almost 50 wins it may sound odd to say this but Kokietgym's record really is very weak. His best wins have come against fighters who are now widely considered Asian journeymen such as Ricky Manufoe, Jack Amisa and Sammy Hagler. This is a big problem when facing someone like Ioka who is a huge step up from anyone Kokietgym has faced so far.
In the ring Kokietgym is somewhat wild and his left hand often looks wide and slow giving opponents a big chance to shoot down the middle. Although he appears to have a nice jab it's certainly under-utilised as is his body attack. He lacks the power to keep a fighter like Ioka honest and with his weak defense it'll be a shock if he sees his way beyond the middle rounds.
Ioka might not (yet) be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in Asia but in terms of potential the kid is amongst the very best, it'll take a special fighter to defeat him and Kokietgym isn't a special fighter.
With this looking like little more than a stay busy defense for Ioka, there is hope that he will fit 2 more fights in this year, possibly one with Roman Gonzalez in what would have to go down as a genuine "super fight"
In preparation for this bout we've featured the full fight of Ioka v Oleydong Sithsamerchai below, the bout that put Ioka on to the world stage. This video is thanks to jackyle11787.