Yesterday we reported that WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] held a press conference to announce his next bout would see him take on Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成] on New Year's Eve, at the Ota-City General Gymnasium. Today it was the term of Tanaka to talk about the contest as he took part in a virtual press conference himself.
A confident Tanaka didn't have any doubts about what was going to come, and stated:
"I want to play a contest that is suitable for ending this year. It's the biggest bout of my career, but I'll definitely seize this opportunity. I can't complain, I want to settle with KO and impress the generation change here. I will lead the boxing world. "
Despite being confident in himself he was also respectful of his future foe, explaining that Ioka was "a leader in the Japanese boxing world for the past 10 years," however it does seem with that in mind he is seeing this as a generational bout, and a passing of the torch.
Of course Ioka isn't the only big name at 115lbs and Tanaka is also aware of that, stating "The super flyweight is a class with many strong players, including Ioka, so it will be a match that will be a gateway to fighting such players,", potentially leaving the door open to bouts between Tanaka and the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Donnie Nietes, or Jerwin Ancajas. Interestingly he did also add that he "wanted to fight overseas", following in the footsteps of Naoya Inoue who recently fought in the US.
Despite being out of the ring since the start of the year Tanaka hasn't been lazy. Instead he has been working on his flaws and his issues, adding "In the past year when there was no match, the technical level has improved considerably." Although he's always been lightning quick and sharp, it has sometimes been his defense and technical skills that have been his issue and to see him working on those areas is something that has been needed for a while.
Earlier today WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] put to bed months of rumour and speculation as he held an online press conference and announced, at least, his plans for New Year's Eve.
Unsurprisingly those plans consist of him defending his world title in a mandatory defense against fellow Japanese fighter Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, as had long been rumoured.
Amazingly this will be the first time Ioka has faced a fellow Japanese fighter since June 2012, when he fought in his historic Minimumweight clash against Akira Yaegashi, in a WBA/WBC unification bout. Since then he has become a real huge star, winning world titles at Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Super Flyweight, but never managing to clash with a countryman.
As for Tanaka he actually has faced Japanese fighters in some of his biggest bouts, including his 2018 win over Sho Kimura and his 2019 win over Ryoichi Taguchi.
At the press conference Ioka, stated "I hope the Japanese confrontation will be exciting in Japan after a long time. I want to stick to the content and results. I want to show the difference in level." [Translated]
He spoke incredibly confidently about the contest and almost seemed to suggest it was a formality. He stated he had absolute confidence in victory and was expecting to retain here before big bouts overseas.
Interestingly this will be his 9th bout on New Year's Eve, and he currently sports a 7-1 record when fighting on that day, with his his only loss coming in 2018 when he lost a razor thin split decision to Donnie Nietes. Rather sadly though he will have been out of the ring for a year coming in to this bout, with his last contest being against Jeyvier Cintron last New Year's Eve.
Interesting Tanaka also fought last New Year's Eve, in what was his third bout on the day. He's also not fought since, with him scoring a KO win over Wulan Tuolehazi last year then deciding to move up in weight this year.
A win for Tanaka would see him set a new record as the man to win titles in 4 weights in the fewest fights. However in the early polling on Boxmob he is viewed as a clear under-dog, and some do seem to feel that the 25 year old from Gifu is biting off more than he can chew in his Super Flyweight debut.
Unsurprisingly the bout is now confirmed as a TBS broadcast however at the time of writing it's unclear who will be featuring on the under-card. We are expecting at least 1 other major bout but nothing like that has been announced as of yet.
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