Yesterday the excellent Carlos Toro reported that the WBO had ordered a rematch between the WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15) [井岡一翔] and former champion Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23), and given the two teams 30 days to agree a deal, before ordering purse bids.
Notably these two men fought at the very end of 2018, with Nietes taking a close, and debated, decision over Ioka in Macau. Sadly Nietes then made some poor decisions, vacating the title, rather than using it to secure unifications bouts, and spent more than 2 years away from the ring. Losing all the momentum he had from that victory. Since his win he has fought twice, going 1-0-1, but really hasn't had a major bout in his return, and now aged 39 it's hard to imagine him beating Ioka again.
As for Ioka he bounced back from the loss to Nietes, by winning the title against Aston Palicte in 2019, and has since defended it 4 times. Amazingly this will be his 4th mandatory since winning the belt, with his his only voluntary being the hastily arranged clash with Ryoji Fukunaga last December, when a planned unification bout with Jerwin Ancajas was scrapped due to Covid regulations in Japan.
Notably there could be a spanner in the works of the WBO's order here, as there has been rumours of recent weeks that there are plans of a massive bout between Ioka and Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (51-3, 41), with that bout rumoured to be in the works for the Summer. Although clearly the men would like to have the WBO title on the line for that contest, there is a chance they would pass up the title, if needed to secure what would be a legacy defining contest for both men. Or the wBO may allow the bout, with the winner to face Nietes, which seems reasonable given Ioka's already made 3 mandatories in 4 bouts, and Gonzalez's standing in the sport
Just moments ago in Yokohama fight fans saw Nicaraguan legend Roman Gonzalez (48-2, 40) return to a Japanese ring return for the first time in over 5 years, as he battled Filipino foe Diomel Diocos (14-6-3, 4).
The bout was expected to be a mismatch in favour of the popular "Chocolatito" and it proved to be just that as Gonzalez mowed down the Filipino in 2 rounds.
Gonzalez showed his trademark pressure from the off, backing up Diocos who looked out of his depth. In the second round a combination from the Nicaraguan, with Diocos on the ropes, forced the referee to step in wave off the bout.
After the win, in what was Gonzalez's 50th professional bout, he stated he was going to chase another world title title, showing that he does still have ambitions to become a world champion once again, though it is unclear which route he will go down to reclaim a belt in the future.
This bout was televised in certain areas by ESPN in certain markets, but sadly wasn't shown in others, including Japan where the bout took place.
Tomorrow in Yokohama Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39) will make his Japanese ring return, for his first bout in the country in over 5 years, as he takes on Filipino foe Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4) in a 8 round bout at 116lbs.
Today the two men weighed in for their bout and both men made the contracted weight. Diocos was bang on the 116lb agreement whilst Gonzalez was just under the limit at around 115.75lbs.
Diocos genuinely looked amazing on the scales and has clearly been preparing hard for this bout, the biggest of his career so far. Gonzalez on the other hand looked a touch fleshy, though he often has had a slight fleshy look to his body. It's clear that if Gonzalez wants to continue fighting at Super Flyweight that wouldn't be a problem.
Despite not looking as good as the Filipino it's hard to imagine anything but a Gonzalez win here. If he does however lose then retirement will will loom over the Nicaraguan great.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Just moments ago our Japanese sources have informed us that Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39) has had his next bout announced!
According to the source Teiken have announced that Gonzalez will be in the ring on December 23rd, as part of the Fuji TV show featuring a trio of world title bouts, and will be up against Filipino Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4) in a 8 round bout at 116lbs.
The 4-weight champion, and a man who was long considered one of the best pound for pound fighters on the planet, hasn't fought at all since September 2018, when he stopped Moises Fuentes in Las Vegas, and hasn't fought in Japan for over 5 years, going back to when he beat Rocky Fuentes in November 2014.
Given Gonzalez's inactivity we weren't anything too interesting, though it does seem odd that they've announced the bout less than 3 weeks before the contest is set to take place. They clearly don't see Diocos as a test, and if Gonzalez is even 25% he once was he should walk through the Filipino with no ease at all.
Whilst Gonzalez has been on the sideline Diocos has been active this year and this will be his 5th bout of the year. Sadly for him he has gone 1-3 in his previous 4 bouts, with losses to Hayate Kaji, Mirco Martin and Ricardo Sueno. Notably he has only been stopped once, and Teiken likely see him as being a durable foe, but that stoppage was in a previous visit to Japan against a fighter with a similar aggressive style to Roman Gonzalez, Daigo Higa.
Sadly the bout is unlikely to receive any TV, at least in Japan, but for fans wondering when the great "Chocolatito" will be back in action we now know!
Gonzalez's return will come on a card that also features WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] defending his title against Canadian challenger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24), WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (16-0, 9) [拳四朗], defending his title against Filipino Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23) and Akira Yaegashi's (28-6, 16) [八重樫 東] challenge against IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25)
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday fight fans across Japan saw Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) [亀田 興毅] and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (91-5-2, 47) [พงษ์ศักดิ์เล็ก วันจงคำ] take part in an exhibition, which ended in round 2 when Koki stopped the Thai veteran. The bout was supposed to be Kameda's final contest though afterwards Kameda stated he would like to fight again, against 4-weight world champion Roman Gonzalez (46-2, 38) in a bout potentially at Super Flyweight.
The bout looked like a pretty interesting one on paper, and given the popularity of both men it would certainly draw in a lot of interest from fans, all over the glove, with many wanting to see Kameda fight a live opponent, a lot wanting to see Kameda get beaten and a lot wanting to see Gonzalez fight against someone who isn't going to potentially finish his career with some brutal knockout, like a third bout against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai could do.
The bout seemed like a good idea from Kameda and something that fans, sponsors and the such would like. Sadly however it has already been shot down, with Teiken representative Tsuyoshi Hamada stating there is no point in the bout and that Gonzalez was looking to reclaim a world title.
It's clear that Teiken would rather have Gonzalez in a big bout, though with the Super Flyweight title picture looking a bit tied up for now we can't help but feel Hamada's comments lack real merit. We understand Teiken not wanting to deal with Kameda, but there is point in the match up, with a bout potentially giving Gonzalez a good pay day in Japan for what would be seen as a relatively safe bout coming back from a string of wars with Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket, as well as back to back losses. Teiken and Gonzalez have got to fancy their man being too good for Kameda and given the potential financial pay off it seems silly for Teiken to rule out the bout so quickly.
It's unclear what either mans immediate plans are but we wouldn't be surprised to see Kameda back in the ring before the end of 2018, whilst Gonzalez is thought to be attempting one final charge at world level before the end of the year.
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