Japanese fans get the chance to watch 5 world title bouts on New Year's Eve this year. Whilst some of those bouts are very unappealing, and are actually quite terrible looking mismatches, there is one bout that has us genuinely excited and expecting something very competitive and exciting.
That bout an a rematch between WBA Flyweight title Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10) and the man he beat for that title earlier this year, Juan Carlos Reveco (36-2, 19).
The two men first faced off back in April when Ioka claimed a majority decision over Reveco to become the second Japanese fighter to become a 3-weight champion, following fellow Osakan fighter Koki Kameda. The first bout was a very competitive one and although all 3 judges were from neutral countries the view from many was that Ioka had gotten lucky. That view seemed to be shared by the WBA who demanded that the two men rematch, which they will do just 8 months after their first bout.
Coming in to this rematch both men will be looking to make a statement with Ioka looking to prove that it was him, and not the judges, that decided the previous bout, whilst Reveco will be looking to avenge his loss to Ioka.
Whilst both fighters will be driven they will also be looking to improve on their previous performance. In terms of improvement we can certainly areas where Ioka will have improved. Firstly we suspect he will have filled into the Flyweight division that bit better than he was when the two men first met. We understand that 8 months isn't a long time but this is the second bout since Ioka won the title and those two training camps will have helped him fill out his body. As for Reveco the 32 year old is racing away from his prime years and he may well be on the slide physically, albeit on marginally on the slide.
We know that Ioka has spent a lot of time working on a game plan to beat Reveco more clearly. That has seen him working a lot on combinations in training and he's stated that he'll be switching between head and body regularly whilst trying to stop Reveco. It was combinations and speed in the first bout that saw Ioka claiming rounds against the heavier handed but slower Reveco, who had his best success when the pace slowed down. If Reveco can neutralise the combinations then he'll take the win here however if Ioka can land those combinations there is little doubting he'll get the win, even if he can't stop Reveco.
For Ioka, who will be cheered on by the crowd, he needs to remember not to have a war with Reveco. Instead he needs to stick to his boxing, he is faster, he is taller and rangier, and he is the better mover. If he can stick to a disciplined gameplan it's hard to see Reveco beating him. Reveco however will look to use his defense to slip inside and go to work, where his strength and power will take it's toll.
Our prediction is that this is going to be another close one, though we suspect it will be less close and less debatable than the first with Ioka doing enough to take a clear, but close decision win, with out having “rounds off” like he had in their first bout.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.