Earlier today Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) [井岡一翔] held a public taining session and a press conference with Kauzto, and his team, talking about their plans for 2017.
Ioka, who only returned to the gym recently, stated that he had been in Hawaii recently but was beginning proper training today ahead of his 5th defense of the WBA Flyweight title. The Osakan is set to return during the "Golden Week", around late April or early May, and although no opponent seems to be set for that bout the 3-weight wold champion did state that he was pursuing a unification bout with WBO world champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2) [邹市明] .
Interestingly the Chinese media had, very recently, stated that a bout between Shiming and Ioka was unlikely, though it does sound like Ioka's team will be making Shiming a sizable offer in an attempt to secure Ioka the unification bout that he's wanting. And we know Ioka is backed by the financial muscle of TBS among others.
Today's training session, run under the guidance of his father, was certainly not the most punishing of sessions and was a rather light one for Ioka, but showed that he and his team aren't wanting to burn him out. There appears to be the intent on fitting in 3 bouts this year, unlike last year where he fought just twice. The first of those is set to be in the Golden Week, before an anticipated unification in the fall and the year ending bout as part of a big TBS show.
Interestingly Ioka also reflected on his December 31st bout with Stamp Kiatniwat. The champion stated that he did suffer some minor injuries to his left hand but they were pretty much all healed and that he is looking to improve from that bout, admitting that he was careless and there was a lot of areas that he could improve on.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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