Back in late June we saw former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (17-1, 10) [田中恒成] claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, with a stoppage win over Masayoshi Hashizume (19-1-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] at Korakuen Hall. At the time it was expected that Tanaka wouldn't hold the title long, instead using it to focus on pursuing a 4th world title.
Today it was confirmed that Tanaka was indeed not looking to have a long reign with the regional title, vacating it earlier today, to focus on getting a world title fight. At the time of writing he is ranked in the top 10 by 3 of the 4 world title bodies, and will be sniffing around a shot at either the WBO, WBC or IBF titles, with the WBA inexplicably not ranking Tanaka at the time of writing.
Whilst Tanaka's intention of getting a world title fight at 115lbs is obvious, what is less clear is who will be looking to fill the vacancy. At the time of writing Japanese champion Kenta Nakagawa (22-4-1, 12) [中川健太] is the top ranked challenger, with Andrew Moloney (24-2, 16) being ranked #2 and Donnie Nietes (43-2-6, 23) being ranked #3, opening the doors to some very interesting potential bouts to fill the void left by Tanaka's decision.
Tomorrow in Japan we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) [井岡一翔] take on Filipino great Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), in Ioka's 4th mandatory defenses in 5 bouts. Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout.
At the weigh in Ioka originally missed weight, coming in at 40g's or 0.09lbs, before reweighing a few minutes later and making weight, bang on at 115lbs This was put down to the fact his scales at home were wrong, or weren't calibrated quite the same as the ones at the venue. As for Nietes, he was comfortably under the limit, coming in at 114.6lbs, on his first attempt to make weight.
As well as the two men making weight they each spoke to the media, and make a selection regarding their gloves for the bout.
Regarding the gloves, both men will be fighting in 8Oz Everlast gloves, with Ioka selecting black gloves and Nietes selecting red.
As for the comments to the media, Ioka stated that he was in perfect condition and that he wanted to show a strong impression as the champion. He explained it was a mandatory, he wanted revenge and was then wanting to fight for the IBF title late in the year to unify the WBO and IBF belts.
Neites on the other hand explained that he had been eating regular meals, was in good shape, and was going to win for Filipino fans, which is notable given that right now there are no Filipino world champions. He also explained that after he beats Ioka he wants to face either Roman Gonzalez or Juan Francisco Estrada.
Related - Ioka seeks revenge in rematch with Nietes!
On Wednesday we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) [井岡一翔] take on Filipino great Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), in a rematch of their 2018 bout which saw Nietes take home a controversial decision victory in Macau.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men attended a pre-fight medical which saw both men passing all the tests and having measurements taken, whilst also speaking to the media.
In comments to the media Ioka suggested that he wasn't impressed by Nietes in their first bout, and that he felt he should have had the win. He also explained that he was in perfect condition for this bout, as he looks for a win in his 22nd world title bout! As for Nietes he spoke about being grateful for this opportunity, and he also explained the origin of his nickname "Ahas", the Filipino word for Snake, the Japanese media. Interestingly he alluded to the fact both men maybe seeking a KO this time, after their close bout back in 2018.
As for the measurements. They showed Ioka to be the naturally bigger man, having advantages in terms of height and reach, and of course he's also the much younger man. He was also the thicker set man, suggesting he's the naturally bigger man in all dimensions, however he was in their first bout too, and failed to do what was needed to get the win there.
The weigh in will take place around mid-day Japan time on Tuesday. For those wanting to watch that, we have included the official live stream of it below. The fight will be shown live on TBS, and affiliates, across Japan from 9PM local time, and can be watched, internationally, by using a YoiTV account.
Related - Ioka seeks revenge in rematch with Nietes!
In just over a week's time we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) [井岡一翔] take on Filipino great Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), in what is a much anticipated rematch between two men who clashed at the end of 2018.
Today, ahead of that clash, Ioka took part in a public work out.
The session saw going through some stretches and other basic exercises, whilst ducking and moving under some ropes and showing off a sharp 1-2.
The work out was surprisingly basic and not a great example of what Ioka has got in his locker for the bout, though it's fair to say that the work has been going on behind the scenes. In fact it was revealed that he has spent over 100 rounds sparring for the bout, spending time in the ring with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-2-1, 17) [比 嘉 大吾] and Jukiya Iimura (3-0, 1) [飯村樹輝弥].
Notably Ioka has been communicating online with training Ismael Salas, who will arrivie in Japan a few days before the bout, and will work his corner against Neites. We dare say that Salas and the team have set a smart game plan to over-come the intelligent, though now 40 year old Nietes.
At the start of June WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) [井岡一翔] held a press conference and announced the date of his rematch with Filipino great Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), which we know is now set for July 13th. Today we saw the main under-card for the show being announced and unsurprisingly the show will act as a showcase of Shisei Gym fighters.
The chief support bout for the show will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-2-1, 17) [比 嘉 大吾] take on former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (32-5-1, 22) in a scheduled 8 rounder at Bantamweight. For Higa this is a must win after losing his most recent bout against Ryosuke Nishida, and knowing that another loss, especially to someone like Saludar, would end any hopes of him getting another world title fight. Sadly for Higa he is a long way removed to the fighter who was 15-0 (15) and much of his appeal has faded since losing the WBC Flyweight title to Cristofer Rosales. As for Saludar he's still very serviceable as a regional contender, and even with 5 losses he's proven his worth, only losing to Andrew Moloney, Ryoji Fukunaga, Sho Kimura, who was the then WBO Flyweight champion, Takuma Inoue and McWilliams Arroyo. Saludar is no push over but will go into this as the clear under-dog.
Another major supporting bout will see former regional champion Musashi Mori (12-1, 7) [森 武蔵] take on big punching Filipino Presco Carcosia (10-1-1, 9) in a really solid 8 round Super Featherweight match up. For Mori the bout marks his first since a May 2021 loss to Satoshi Shimizu, in what was a well contested bout against the Olympic Bronze medal winner, and it'll be interesting to see how he looks after more than a year of inactivity. As for Carcosia his wins have come at a low level, on the domestic Filipino scene, but he did show how good he was in his sole defeat, losing a split decision in Australia to Jai Alexander. The bout should serve as a genuine test for both men, and a good chance to see what Mori is like at 130lbs.
The real talking point for this card, other than the main event, is the highly anticipated debut of former Japanese amateur standout Hayato Tsutsumi (0-0) [堤駿斗]. Tsutsumi will begin his career in an 8 round Featherweight clash against well travelled Filipino Jhon Gemino (23-13-1, 13). Tsutusmi was a genuinely sensational Japanese amateur, and will go in to this bout with a lot of pressure on him to not just win, but to win in style. Gemnino on the other hand will look to play his usual role of upset minded nightmare. Although his record might not suggest it, Gemnino is a genuine banana skin for really good fighters, and he has upset fighters on the road before with wins against the likes of Arnold Alejandro (then 11-0), Carlos Ornelas (then 22-1), Sho Nakazawa (then 11-2), Toka Kahn Clary (then 19-0), Toto Helebe (then 17-6). This is a dangerous debut for Tsutsumi, but a win immediately puts him in the mix for regional titles, with Gemino entering ranked highly by the OPBF.
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