It's not often that a world champion is over-shadowed by his stablemate but that's exactly what has happened to WBA Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki (19-0-3, 11), the stablemate of young superstar Kazuto Ioka.
Many in boxing feel that Ioka himself moved up from Minimumweight to Light Flyweight last year so that the door could be opened to Miyazaki claiming a world title. Whether this was right, or wrong, is up for debate though Ioka's move certainly did help Miyazaki move into the world level.
Prior to the door being opened to a world title fight Miyazaki had himself forged a respectable career having already claimed the Japanese and OPBF titles at Light Flyweight before dropping down to 105lbs to claim the WBA title.
The unbeaten Miyazaki looks to defend his world title for the second time on Wednesday as he takes on WBA "interim" champion Jesus Silvestre (27-3, 20), a fighter who is somewhat well known to Asian boxing fans due to losing efforts in both the Philippines, to Donnie Nietes, and Thailand to Paipharob Kokietgym.
Silvestre is still a young fighter himself, though he also appears to be an experienced one with fights against Nietes and Paipharob being just the ice cap of a deep career. Sure the Mexican youngster hasn't scored any really world class victories but he has beaten several decent opponents like Yader Escobar, Carlos Velarde, Walter Rojas and former Japanese champion Takuya Mitamura, in fact all 4 of those victories have come by stoppage.
Interestingly both men share an opponent in the form of Velarde, who was stopped by both men in the 5th round. For Silvestre, who beat him in 2009, it was a step up for both men for Miyazaki however it was his first world title defense just a few short months ago.
Although Silvestre has had a successful career he has lost to his sole world level fighter he has faced in Nietes. Sure that loss will have been a major learning experience but he's not really been facing the men who will help steady him for genuine world level. He's been facing good fighters, but very few have been proven world level fighters.
From the footage available Silvestre does look like a decent fighter. He has shown good movement, a no-fear attitude, nice boxing fundamentals and against Paipharob he showed an impressive work rate with some excellent pressure work late in the bout.
For those who saw Silvestre's bout with Mitamura, it's obvious just how good his pressure, though of course Miyamura is no Miyazaki and the champion has likely seen the same highly level pressure work in sparring from various sparring partners.
Miyazaki will know what to expect from Silvestre, and has the network at the Ioka Gym to help prepare him for the fight. With that in mind we do have to think that Miyazaki has got his preparation right and will go to the body of Silvestre to slow him down.
If Silvestre can see off the power of Miyazaki, and the body shots especially, then we really could be in for something special. Both guys can fight hard, and if they can each take each other shots then we've got to be honest this will see Miyazaki outshining Ioka's bout against Kwanthai Sithmorseng on the same card.
We'll take Miyazaki to come out victorious but really this will not be easy for the champion nor will it be boring for fans.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Traditionally Japanese fighters have fared badly in Thailand whilst Thai's have been able to have plenty of success in Japan. In fact several Thai fighters in recent years, including Tepparith Kokiet Gym, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam have all enjoyed notable success in Japan
Unbeaten Japanese youngster Kazuto Ioka (12-0, 8) however seems to love fighting Thai fighters. He made his name originally by stopping Oleydong Sithsamerchai back in February 2011 and has since beat more 2 Thai's in his subsequent 5 title bouts, including Wisanu Kokietgym last time out.
In fact in the 12 fight career of Ioka, he has a record of 4-0 (4) against Thai's, not bad for such a young fighter.
He'll be attempting to move that ledger against Thai's to 5-0 on September 11th as he battles former WBA Minimumweight champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (43-1-1, 22) in what looks, at least on paper to be a very well made match up against a highly ranked WBA fighter.
Although inexperienced as a professional Ioka has been one of the most aggressively matched fighters in the sport. His amateur record of 95-10 (64) shows he's more experienced as a fighter than his professional record may illustrate and the fact that his trainer, and uncle, is Hiroka Ioka, a former 2-weight world champion shows his pedigree.
Ioka may only have a dozen professional bouts to his name but he's a bona fide world level fighter with 6 victories in world title bouts, including notable victories over Oleydong and Akira Yaegashi. In fact in terms of rounds fought 45 of his career 89 rounds in world title bouts showing that whilst professionally somewhat inexperienced he's gotten valuable top level experience.
In terms of his fighting style Ioka has a "non-Japanese" style. He's not a tough man fighter but instead a boxer-puncher. He's capable of fighting a firefight, as he showed against Yaegashi, though at his best he's a boxer with a clever ability to control range and a vicious right hand to the body, a shot with which he's making himself a reputation with.
With 45 fights on his ledger you'd have expected Kwanthai to have been mixing in and around world level for at least a handful of them, especially considering he was a world champion himself. Sadly his world title experience is much less than that of Ioka, with a record in world title fights of 1-1, consisting of just 21 combined rounds.
Although Kwanthai is inexperienced at the world level his 45 fight experienced is genuine in it's own right, especially when you consider many of those bouts have been fought for the PABA Minimumweight title, a title he has held twice. Although the PABA title is prestigious it's fair to say that Kwanthai hasn't been defending against top competition with his best PABA defenses coming against fighters like Jack Amisa and Ricky Manufoe.
At his very best the 29 year old Thai is certainly a capable fighter, his victory for the WBA Minimumweight title over compatriot Pigmy Kokietgym. Though in all honesty a "capable" fighter is probably all he really is and he was fortunate to be fighting in an era with several world titles out there.
With a stoppage loss on his record to Indonesian Muhammad Rachman from a body shot, we find it hard to imagine Kwanthai seeing out the 12 round with Ioka, especially given Ioka's body punching prowess. If Kwanthai isn't taken out with a body blow we really can't see him managing to out work or out box Ioka either.
Despite the large experience edge for Kwanthai it'd be a shock to see him managing to do really much more than becoming #5 on Ioka's list of Thai victims
World Title Previews
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