One of the biggest names in Japanese boxing in recent years is that of Kazuto Ioka, the 4-weight world champion and one of the biggest names in the lower weight classes. What we suspect many will know is that he's not the only world champion in the family, with his uncle, Hiroki Ioka, being a 2-weight world champion himself.
Hiroki was one of the young stars of the late 1980's and 1990's, having a career that spanned 12 years and 42 bouts. He was a real prodigy and has remained in boxing since he began his in ring career. Whilst many will have heard the name, we suspect few will know too much about the talented Osakan. With that said, lets educate on Ioka with 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Hiroki Ioka
1-Ioka graduated from the same high school as Magnum Hokuto, an adult actor who claims to have slept with over 2000 women and is allergic to latex, so doesn't use condoms.
2-Despite being from Osaka, and being promoted by an Osakan promoter, he actually made his debut at Korakuen Hall in 1986, at the prodigious age of 17. Interestingly on the same card Koji Nishikawa became the Japanese Flyweight champion, dropping Yoshiyuki Ichikoshi 5 times, and future world title challenger Kenji Matsumura suffered his first professional defeat
3-Ioka was the first ever WBC Minimumweight champion, winning the belt in 1987 with a decision win over Mai Thomburifarm, age of just 18.
4-Ioka stills holds the Japanese record as the youngest world champion. He took his first world title at the age of 18 years, 9 months and 10 days.
5-In December 1991, when Ioka won the WBA Light Flyweight title, he become only the third Japanese fighter to become a multi-weight champion. The first was Fighting Harada and the second was Kuniaki Shibata. Like Harada before him he pursed a goal of becoming a 3-weight champion but fell short in world title bouts at Flyweight and Super Flyweight.
6-Ioka often used movie music for his walk on, including "Lead Me On" from Top Gun and "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III
7-Only 1 of Ioka's 8 losses came in a non world title bout, that was his final contest which saw him lose to Masamori Tokuyama. Incidentally Tokuyama would go on to become a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion, meaning all 8 of his losses came to fighters who held world titles at some point in their career.
8-Ioka was the last world champion to be trained by the legendary Eddie Townsend. Townsend trained Ioka from the age of 14 and the relationship was as much trainer-student as father-son. Sadly Townsend would die of cancer the day after Ioka made his first defense of the WBC Minimumweight title in 1988.
9-Ioka was involved in a hair product advert, for "Top Boy" which seems very similar to Head and Shoulders.
10-There is a 101 page photo book released of Ioka. The book was done by Kiyoshi Goto and is currently available on several Japanese websites, including Amazon.jp and toudoukan.com.
Bonus Fact 1 - Ioka's family tree dates back to pirates, with his family reportedly being descendants of the Murakami navy, and their sea faring ways lead them to running a fishery.
Bonus Fact 2- Ioka's shoe size is a Japanese 26, which is the same a US size 8 or a UK 7½
Bonus Fact 3 - This article was published 33 years after his first world title win in 1987!
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).