It’s traditional for a big fight to take place in Japan on New Year’s Eve. Over the years we’ve seen some great battles between the lower men go down on the big night, and this year it could be Kazuto Ioka’s turn once again. Last New Year’s Eve in Tokyo, Ioka stopped an unbeaten Kosei Tanaka to retain his WBO super flyweight title. Now, according to a news article from Philippines newspaper Business Mirror, Ioka is in negotiations to face reigning IBF super flyweight champ Jerwin Ancajas in a unification showdown.
Sean Gibbons, who looks after Ancajas, says his fighter has “no problem” fighting in Japan, but that the ongoing quarantine restrictions will have to be figured out.
This is a potentially great fight, between two little giants who should be far more celebrated all over the world than they currently are. Ioka, 27-2(15) and a four-weight world champ, wants to achieve true greatness and he feels his becoming the holder of all the belts at super fly would perhaps do it for him. Ancajas, 33-1-2(22) has held the IBF title since September of 2016 and the 29 year old southpaw from Panabo City has not lost a fight since way back in 2012, when he dropped a majority decision to Mark Geraldo. Neither Ancajas nor Ioka has ever been stopped.
Last time out, Ancajas won a UD over Jonathan Rodriguez, this in April and marking “Pretty Boy’s” ninth title retention. In his last outing, 32 year old Ioka gave us a great action fight in decisioning Francisco Rodriguez Jr in September; this being Ioka’s third retention of the WBO super fly belt.
Who wins if/when these two superb fighters get it on? Ioka is the older man and he took plenty of shots from a determined Rodriguez Jr. Ancajas is fresher but he will likely be fighting away from home (he has never boxed in Japan before). You can go ahead and call it a 50-50 fight. Both men aspire to be the best fighter pound-for-pound in the world today. The winner might be a big step closer to realising his goal. Again, let’s hope this fight gets done.