Written by Tré Berry III | 12/25/2020
Whatever you’re thinking, do not ✏️pencil in your 2020 yearly boxing awards just yet – boxing has one more “super-fight” scheduled on the last day of the year, and it will take place at the 🏟️Ota-City General Gymnasium in 🗾Tokyo, Japan.
Japan’s only ever 4-division World Titlist and reigning WBO Super-Flyweight belt holder 🇯🇵Kazuto Ioka (25-2-0, 14KO👊) will be up to take on the most talented fighter of his career, that being incredibly skilled 3-division Titlist 🇯🇵Kosei Tanaka (15-0-0, 9KO👊), who is moving up for what is also his biggest test as a professional, looking to cement himself into the record books in a multitude of ways.
What I will personally say is if both of these boxers aren’t close to your top-10 P4P boxers 🌏worldwide, then surely you have been missing out, as they each share the spotlight as the #2, and #3 boxers in Japan, of course taking a backseat to the freak at Bantamweight named Naoya “Monster” Inoue.
Now if you’re of the more casual contingent, and/or you don’t possess the right technology to keep up with their fights, then mainstream networking has to take the brunt of the blame, failing to give coverage to high level tacticians in the lower weight divisions, many in particular residing in Japan, where they are enveloped in a Golden-Era of homegrown talent.
ALL ABOUT LEGACY FOR THE QUIET IOKA
Kazuto Ioka has truly been the model of consistency through his 11 year pro career. As the nephew of decorated former Lineal Strawweight World Champion, and Light-Flyweight Titlist Hiroki Ioka (who fought in the 80’s and 90’s), Kazuto has done more than just continue to push his family legacy.
He has managed to take it to new heights, as he has won 8 regional amateur tournaments, and earned 5 World Title belts at professional level in the ⚖️Strawweight, Light-Flyweight, Flyweight, and Super-Flyweight divisions.
A winner of 19 World Title fights at the age of 31, he was the third fastest fighter (in terms of fights) to become a 4-division World Champion. During his storied journey, he has defeated six World Titlists. His only two losses on the record came against future HOF’er 🇵🇭Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, and former amateur & Flyweight standout 🇹🇭Amnat Ruenroeng.
Both of those fights, Ioka has a credible case that he should have been awarded decisions in those bouts, so one can make a claim to have never truly seen Kazuto lose in the ring. Well however you feel about that notion, he will more than have his hands full against his gifted opponent come Thursday.
THE GIFTED TANAKA TAKES THE GAMBLE
The best way to describe Kosei Tanaka is in having an inordinate amount of skills, and the toughness to match it. At the age of 25, he has already established himself as one of the best in the world, and tied the record for fastest all-time (in terms of fights) to become a 3-division World Titlist in just 12 fights – sharing that feat with 🥇🥇🇺🇦Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Despite only being 15 fights in, he is already a veteran at the Championship level, having 9 title bouts under his belt, and winning all of them, most in spectacular performances of all-around skill variety. Being as naturally talented as anyone in boxing, he showcased his toughness in his 2018 all-out war against Sho Kimura, and against Rangsan Chayanram, who fractured BOTH of Tanaka’s eye-sockets…but somehow, Tanaka took it, and stopped Chayanram in the 9th round.
( That is why Kosei Tanaka blinks heavily every 15 seconds )
For Kosei, a win against Ioka would undoubtedly have him universally ranked on the P4P list, and would have him join his opponent Ioka as Japan’s lone 4-division Champions, and Tanaka would easily break Oscar De La Hoya’s record of doing so in the least amount of fights (Oscar did it in 24 bouts).
THE STAKES THAT WILL BE ON THE LINE
This highly-acclaimed contest also stands as the biggest fight all-time in Japan’s well-chronicled past – so although many different facets of history are on the line for these two elite-prizefighters, bragging rights, and National standing will be the Chief benefactors that will motivate them, to give it all they got, against the most dangerous foe that each will face in their careers. You do not want to miss this one.
:: This fight can be viewed on FUJI-TV. This fight card will start at 5 A.M. EST. Approximate main event time is 8 EST. ::