Former WBA Super Flyweight champion Satoshi Iida (25-2-1, 11) isn't a name that many fight fans in the West will ever think of. His 28 fight career was fought entirely in Japan with 24 of his 28 bouts taking place in Nagoya. Despite his stay at home career he was a notable figure in the 1990's Japanese scene, and the big star of the Chubu region. His career spanned most of the 1990's, with his debut coming in March 1991 and his final bout taking place in December 1998 during which he featured in 6 world title bouts and two Japanese title bouts.
With not much being mentioned in the west about Iida we felt it worth including him in this weekly series, and look at the 5 most significant wins for... Satoshi Iida, during what was a fairly interest and often under-rated career.
Hisashi Tokushima (August 14th 1993)
Although Iida had come to the attention of Japanese fans in February 1992, when he beat Jiro Matsushima in the all Japan Rookie of the Year, it was his win 18 months later that really got the ball rolling. In it he took on former world title challenger Hisashi Tokushima and took a decision over the experienced, and still world ranked, Tokushima. The bout was a massive step up in class for Iida, only his second completed 10 rounder and a massive move forward with things. Prior to this bout he had not really been tested too much, but now he was being asked questions and answering them in impressive fashion. This was the bout that helped to make it clear he was ready for title action.
Although the scores aren't at the time of writing, on boxrec they were 98-93, twice, and 99-93 all in favour of Iida.
Rolando Bohol (November 27th 1993)
Just 3 months after beating Tokushima fans in Nagoya saw Iida score another big win, defeating former IBF Flyweight champion Rolando Bohol, again with a 10 round decision. Whilst Bohol was a some what faded fighter by this point, having lost 3 of his last 4, he was still a talented fighter and his losses hadn't come at a bad level either, with one coming to Gerry Penalosa and another to Daorung Chuwatana. In the end Iida was too good, taking a clear decision over Bohol as he again made his case for bigger and better fights. In his very next bout he took the Japanese Super Flyweight title, stopping former rival Jiro Matsushima in 8 rounds to take the title.
Once again the scores aren't on boxrec but Japanese sources have informed us the judges turned in cards of 99-92, twice, and 99-93, for Iida over Bohol making it very clear that there was no doubting the result.
Yokthai Sithoar II (December 23rd 1997)
In 1996 Iida got his first world title fight, losing to Alimi Goitia ina bout for the WBA Super Flyweight. The following year he got his second shot, fighting to a draw with Yokthai Sithoar, again for the WBA Super Flyweight title. His third shot also came against Yokthai but this time Iida would do enough to take a thin decision win and the WBA belt. The bout was close, and tough, just like their first one. It wasn't the most action packed, or the most exciting, but it was very competitive with Iida doing enough to take the early rounds, scoring a knockdown in the opening round, and survive some worrying moments late on. It was a mature performance from the Japanese fighter, even if it wasn't the most exciting.
Hiroki Ioka (April 29th 1998)
Iida's first defense came against fellow Japanese fighter Hiroki Ioka, who was looking to become the first ever 3-weight world champion from Japan. Ioka had won titles at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight and was hoping to claim the WBA Super Flyweight title toe put his name in the history books. To his credit Ioka came close, incredibly close, but Iida denied Ioka by taking a majority decision in what was a very compelling bout. Ioka had always struggled with southpaws but put on a solid performance here in what would be his last hurrah, though it wasn't good enough to defeat Iida. The bout, whilst mostly technical, was fairly bloody bout, as Iida suffered a cut early on. Whilst not a classic, by any stretch, this is a surprisingly good bout and well worthy of a watch. I
Having denied Ioka his place in history, albeit somewhat controversially, this win is certainly a significant one and had Ioka got the win things would have been different in Japanese boxing history, and in regards to Ioka's standing in the sport all these years on.
Julio Gamboa (July 26th 1998)
Having narrowly squeaked past Ioka in April we saw Iida back out in July when he recorded his second defense, taking on Julio Gamboa. Although Gamboa's final career tally of 28-14-2 (17) may not look good he was a very solid fighter at the turn of the millennium and had won his last 8 to earn a shot at Iida. This was another hard fought bout, another close win for Iida, who by now really had proven that whilst he was a world champion wasn't really too much better, if at all better, than the contenders he was facing. As with the Ioka bout this was compelling, and interesting, not the most exciting but certainly not a bad bout and saw both men fight on a very even keel, with neither man managing to really get their hard too far in front of the other. Iida would lose the title to Jesus Rojas just 5 months after this win, ending his notable, but rather disappointing reign.
The win over Gamboa managed to age well in the immediate future. Gamboa would give Jorge Eliecer Julio a close bout in a contest for the WBO Bantamweight title, and fight to a draw in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout. Sadly though he failed to get over the hump and his career became that of a gate keeper in later years.
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