Moments ago in Tokyo, Japan, reigning and defending WBA 115 pound champion Kazuto Ioka scored an exciting and impressive stoppage win over a game Josber Perez of Venezuela. Ioka, one of the best fighters on the planet and a champion who always looks to put on a show during his traditional New Year’s Eve ring appearance, scored three knockdowns in halting Perez, the end coming in round seven of a good action fight.
Ioka, a four-weight champ, dropped Perez for a third time in the seventh round, this with a right hand to the head, and Perez was counted out as he remained on one knee. Time was 2:44 of round seven, and Ioka is now 31-2-1(16). Today’s KO was the first Ioka has scored in three years, and he sure did look impressive today as his countrymen and women cheered him on inside a full Ota-City Gymnasium. Perez, who fought as well as he could, falls to 20-4(18).
Ioka, the older man by six years at 34, came out aggressively, his intentions clear. Ioka took the fight to the challenger but Perez fired back, landing on occasion. The third round was exciting as both men fired shots in the middle of the ring. Ioka’s bodywork was serving him well. Ioka scored his first knockdown in round five, this with a combination of shots up and down. Ioka dropped his man a second time in the round, this time with a straight right hand.
Perez survived the sixth but it was only a matter of time before Ioka closed the show, which he duly did in the seventh, when another right hand dropped Perez for the third and final time. A good fight and a very good performance from Ioka, one of the pound-for-pound best today.
Ioka wants to unify the 115 pound titles in 2024, and judging by his showing today, he has plenty left in the tank at age 34. Perez gave it a real go today, but he was in the ring with a special fighter. The Japanese fans sure enjoyed Ioka’s New Year’s Eve show.