Now former flyweight world title holder, Kazuto Ioka shocked the boxing world this week by announcing his intention to walk away from the sport at the age of 28.
The Japanese star, rated in the Top 20 of the WBN Pound for Pound ratings and number two in the divisional standings behind Donnie Nietes, made the decision to quit after being out for eight months since defeating Noknoi Sitthiprasert.
“I’m satisfied with myself because I could win in three classes, which is also the reason why I started boxing,” Ioka told a press conference in Japan.
To the fans, he added: “I think I’m here now because of your support, and I want to express my greatest appreciation.”
Rumors of a rift with manager and father Kazunori Ioka surfaced earlier this year, with reports the pair had fallen out over Ioka’s marriage to pop star Nana Tanimura reaching the surface.
There are also tax issues relating to his father and their working relationship, although Ioka denied Kazunori or his spouse were involved in his final wishes not to fight again.
“I haven’t felt any influence fighting since we’ve been together. My wife’s presence itself was my support.”
Ioka leaves with a 22-1 C.V and an impressive four world title wins in three different weight classes, having dominated at 105, 108 and 112 pounds during his time trading blows.
His one blemish was a controversial split reverse to Amnat Ruenroeng in 2014 but don’t be surprised if we see Ioka grace the ring again in the future once his sorts out his personal issues.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay