Today’s expected great fight between Japanese stars Kazuto Ioka and Kosei Tanaka delivered. Yet, it was more a truly great performance that fans in Tokyo witnessed rather than a great fight.
Ioka, who had to survive some torrid moments against the six-year younger Tanaka, put on a sensational performance. Cool, calm, patient, looking for his spots, the 31-year-old counter-punching boxing master put Tanaka in his place in stopping him in quite surreal fashion in round-eight.
It was indeed a masterclass from a chillingly effective fighter far too many people have not even heard of. But this figures to change, and soon.
Ioka, a four-weight world champ who retained his WBO 115 pound belt today, is now looking at several fascinating options. The most mesmerizing of these options is a true Japanese super-fight – THE biggest fight in Japanese boxing history. Ioka Vs. Naoya Inoue!
Ioka, 26-2(15) – the two losses coming via tight split decisions, to Amnat Ruenroeng in 2014 and Donnie Nietes in 2018 – is currently operating three pounds lower than “The Monster,” and the possibility that these two could hook up is tantalizingly close.
Simply put, this fight would be enormous and not merely in Japan. Ioka has superb skills; we know that. But the man from Sakai also has a great chin, amazing composure, and a whole boatload of experience.
Inoue is a fantastic fighter, as we all know, far more than just a murderous puncher. Inoue has fine skills himself, and he might be getting better and better.
Inoue Vs. Ioka really would be a match-up to enthrall. Some fans might think It a step too far (or a step too high) for Ioka to go for a fifth world title in as many weight divisions, but perhaps this close to flawless technician has the tools, the brains to be able to climb his biggest mountain.
At a little over 5’4,” Ioka is not much more than a hair shorter than Inoue, so the fight is not an unrealistic teaser.
Both champions have no shortage of options for their next fight or fights, but there is something about a fight between them that sends a genuine shiver down the spine.
Imagine if Inoue and Ioka each took a fight, maybe two fights this year, with both men keeping a clean sheet, and then – brace yourself: Inoue Vs. Ioka in Japan on New Year’s Eve 2021! How awesome would that be?
Inoue, 20-0(17), has won titles at light-fly, super-fly, and bantamweight. Ioka has captured belts at minimumweight, light-fly, flyweight, and super-flyweight. Both fantastic fighters deserve to be on everybody’s pound-for-pound list.
Together, Ioka and Inoue could give their country and the world something extraordinary in 2021.