After resuming training over the past few days it appears that former 2-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka (14-1, 9) will be hunting an immediate world title bout.
We had suspect that Ioka, who lost his unbeaten record in an IBF Flyweight challenge earlier this month to Amnat Ruenroeng, would be looking for a none title bout in Fall to let him get used to the Flyweight division and prepare him properly for a world title bout. Instead it seems that he wants to jump straight back in with the sharks that hold titles at 112lbs.
Using our detective skills we've seen only 1 possible suspect for Ioka's attention, the winner of the upcoming WBA Flyweight world title fight between Juan Carlos Reveco (33-1, 18) and Ioka's former opponent Felix Alvarado (18-1, 15), a fight that takes place on June 6th.
Reveco is a name that has long been linked with Ioka though no bout has ever been made and he's also been linked to Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. He's a 2-weight world champion himself and the current WBA Flyweight champion. Aged 30 he's experienced and very much an established fighter at the world level with more 10 "world" title bouts, including interim title contests.
Although Reveco has been linked to Ioka for a while the Argentinian has only actually fought one Japanese fighter, Masayuki Kuroda, defeating him by decision in early 2013.
As for Felix Alvarado, the Nicaraguan warrior who travelled to Japan late last year in a losing effort to Ioka, he is somebody that Ioka would likely fancy his chances against again. Alvarado fought an aggressive and fun fight against Ioka though lacked the technical skills of his compatriot Roman Gonzalez. A rematch between Ioka and Alvarado would certainly be welcomed if Alvarado managed to defeat Reveco and it would give a chance for Alvarado to avenge his sole loss.
The reason we've singled out the Reveco/Alvarado winner as the likely opponent for Ioka is the timing. Ioka seems like to return in August or September, this would rule out WBC champion Akira Yaegashi, who we suspect will be fighting Roman Gonzalez around the same time, the IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng had been told he must defend against his mandatory challenger, the winner of the upcoming bout between Froilan Saludar and McWilliams Arroyo, whilst WBA "super" and WBO champion Juan Francisco Estrada has been told he must defend against mandatory challenger Giovani Segura. This leaves only the WBA title as a possible fall target.
Despite the possibilities of a fight with Reveco/Alvarado we'd still like to see Ioka focus on a non-title fight for his return, though of course he's his own man and is still targetting the race to be the quickest 3 weight world champion
(Image courtesy of http://www.hochi.co.jp/)
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