Moments ago in Tokyo, Japan, WBO 115 pound champ Kazuto Ioka scored an eighth-round stoppage over countryman Kosei Tanaka. Ioka, a four-weight champ, decked three-weight ruler Tanaka in the 5th and 7th round before having the challenger out on his feet in the 8th, the ref making the right decision to halt the fight.
Ioka is now 26-2(15). Tanaka, who was daring to be great by going for his fourth world title after just 15 fights, falls to 15-1(9).
As advertised and with the traditional thing in Japan on New year’s eve, these two stars gave their all in a superb action fight. For four rounds, the two men battled pretty much evenly before Ioka took over in the fifth.
Tanaka, never a fighter with what could be called a tight defense, was sent down from a left hand, and he was hurt badly. Ioka repeated the feat in the following round, and the end looked nigh. Instead, Tanaka fought back gamely in the 7th round, forcing out his punches in a heroic fashion.
But then Ioka cracked the game challenger with more hurt in the 8th.
This time Tanaka somehow managed to stay on his feet (aided by the ref), but the fight was over, Tanaka not knowing where he was. There were no complaints about the stoppage, the two warriors having nothing but respect for each other.
A great fight and a great win for Ioka, who now aims to fight a big international fight. Tanaka can come again, perhaps back down at 112 pounds.